[nSLUG] Why you are not seeing software ported to Linux

Ben Armstrong synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
Thu Jun 23 14:01:06 ADT 2011

On 06/23/2011 12:14 PM, D G Teed wrote:
> Avoid our enterprise backup solution?  I think not, but anyway,
> it works fine.

Glad it works for you. It's one of those things that's nice to have *if*
it works. But generally it is a poor substitute for native support for
your platform, and it's one of those things that you're unlikely to find
much enthusiasm for in Debian support channels.

> However, my thoughts are not specific to Debian, so you don't
> need to be defensive about that.  I think the cases I've
> mentioned are mainly upstream issues.

My responses are always going to be with Debian in mind because it's
what I do and what I know best. I didn't think I was being defensive
about Debian in particular, but rather felt I needed to speak up as a
member of Debian *and* the broader open source community as you seemed
to be indicting both for their lack of care about quality. While it is
true that we could always care more for quality, seem to portray the
whole community as a bunch of myopic DIYers with no care for the broader
issues that affect broader adoption of Linux. The reality is, we (the
broader community, not just Debian) do the best we can with the
resources we have. We do think about making it work for more than just
ourselves, or else a distribution on the scale of Debian would simply be
impossible to pull off.

> I've had experiences demonstrating poor coding practise of
> the elementary sort  (e.g. test for a file before opening, or
> catch the error when the file doesn't exist).  There are times
> they could be doing way better (don't worry, it wasn't Debian).

Doesn't matter if it were Debian. Yes, it happens sometimes. Quality of
contributions is not uniform across Debian. Nor is there any way of
mandating that in a large, volunteer-run organization such as ours.

> I'd call it minimal efforts to get it working and then
> chalk up a success.

A fair portrayal for isolated cases. Fortunately there are checks and
balances in the Debian ecosystem (a rigorous policy document and a
lengthy and thorough release process where such things are mopped up
before the release is made, for instance).

Where I take exception is your tendency to over-generalize about this
problem. You seem to paint all of open source development with the same


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