Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Feb 2007 17:38 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Debian and its clones Last September, some of the Debian Linux distribution's leadership wanted to make sure that Etch, the next version of Debian, arrived on its December 4th due date. Almost two months later, though, according to the February 17th Release Critical Bug Report memo to the Debian Developers Announcement list, there are still 541 release critical bugs.
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Cutting off nose to spite face...
by cmost on Fri 23rd Feb 2007 17:57 UTC
Member since:

Debian is suffering continuing delays partly because of a slowdown by key developers. Many developers are upset that Debian's two release managers are being paid to work full-time to finish Etch. Umm, last time I checked, people have bills to pay and they have to eat! The intentional slow down being orchestrated by these key Debian developers is serving no purpose other than turning off people to Debian. While many distros are flocking to Ubuntu's packages for their core, distributions using pure Debian are beginning to shrink. Meanwhile, the Debian developers continue to play their childish games. I think Debian must have taken a page out of Microsoft's play book. Unfortunately, sometimes it's NOT better to be late than never.

Reply Score: 5

da_Chicken Member since:

Debian is suffering continuing delays partly because of a slowdown by key developers.

So, who exactly are those key developers that you claim are slowing down their work and how exactly has this alleged slow down delayed the Etch release? You're parroting unproven allegations. Please provide the facts and details to prove your claims.

I find it strange that Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is so worried about the Etch release when he apparently doesn't even use Debian himself. Why is he so concerned? People should know by now that Debian is only released when the developers think it's ready -- not a minute earlier.

A recent post in the debian-devel-announce mailing list suggests that the Etch release is progressing just fine.

Reply Parent Score: 5

cmost Member since:

It's no secret that many Debian developers are upset about Dunc Tank. A Google search will make that clear. Further, I doubt anyone will admit to being one of the developers purposely delaying their work. Would you admit it? I doubt it. As for hard facts, they're scarce, but I did read this recently:

"A group of 17 developers, led by well-known Debian maintainer Joerg Jaspert, issued a position statement in October citing its disenchantment with Dunc-Tank. It read, "This whole affair already hurts Debian more than it can ever achieve. It already made a lot of people who have contributed a huge amount of time and work to Debian reduce their work. People left the project, others are orphaning packages...system administration and security work is reduced, and a lot of otherwise silent maintainers simply put off Debian work (to) work on something else."

Please stop acting like a litigator. I'm not wasting time providing names, addresses, dates and times so that my comments seems more credible to people like you. If you want more information, look it up yourself.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Oliver Member since:

Hey chicken,

You will not hear the truth because somethings aren't for everyones ears.

Reply Parent Score: 1

cb_osn Member since:

Many developers are upset that Debian's two release managers are being paid to work full-time to finish Etch. Umm, last time I checked, people have bills to pay and they have to eat!

Except for developers-- who apparently live in boxes, survive on garbage and sleep after they're dead.

Seriously though, I think that this issue brings up on a small scale some of the questions about a world of only Free software that Stallman and FSF supporters have yet to answer adequately. Mainly: Will developers work for free, and if not, who will pay them?

Just to make it clear, I don't have a problem with Free software. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with the implications of the Free software only world that Stallman envisions.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Gnomonic Member since:

I think you are putting words into RMS' mouth that he didn't utter. There's nothing wrong in charging for GPL'ed software. And nothing wrong with paid developers.Nothing wrong with corporations, as long as they respect the GPL.

Reply Parent Score: 5

superman Member since:

Poor Linus, poor Red Hat.

Reply Parent Score: 2

rayiner Member since:

Have you ever seen what the FSF charges for one of their "deluxe" GNU software distributions? The FSF has no opposition to charging for software, just to restricting the rights of users.

In any case, it should be borne in mind that most software is not sold as a product. Most software is created in support of other products. This balance is only going to shift more towards custom software as the commercial software market becomes saturated (honestly, who really NEEDS yet another version of Photoshop?) and more and more products have embedded software (what open-source project is going to write a free-software implementation of an avionics software package?) Also, while free software means there is less money for producing specific types of high-volume software, it also means that users of these types of software can have more resources to spend on more productive things. We use Linux and GCC at work, because it means we can avoid putting out the $$$ for a copy of VxWorks. That in turn means more of the money from our contract can be spent on hiring people to work on our main project.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Jody Member since:

Your point about paying developers is actually valid.

There are companies making millions off of supporting Linux but that money does not necessarily make it to any of the people actually writing the code, building packages, or fixing bugs.

According to the Inquirer, HP is making 25 million a year supporting Debian:

I can't speak authoritatively on if any of this money is getting channeled back to support Debian or not though, I am simply pointing out that there is nothing preventing HP from making 25 million a year on Debian and giving Debian squat.

I believe a large portion of money made on open source software ends up in the hands of the middle men due largely to the support model.

The best solution for companies building Linux is to also sell commercial support, but there must be a thousand companies other than RH offering paid support of Red Hat products. Sure they do bug fixes, but since they don't have to pay full time developers to contribute the bulk of the code, it makes it easy to undercut Red Hat's support prices.

A more direct model to support developers and support staff alike could offer huge gains, but most of these attempts have not really taken hold.

Some ideas on how better to do this could make for an interesting article/discussion.

Reply Parent Score: 4

codehead78 Member since:

Don't remember where I read it but he did suggest a Software Tax at one time.

But we will never need to solve this problem. Open Source thrives in certain areas but in others it is always behind. Some software you pay for and it works. It needs no support. Search for your own reasons but the simple fact is that the GIMP will never be as good a Photoshop, not to mention the rest of the Adobe Suite. So a world of all Free software will only exist in Stallman's head.

There is still a problem of paying developers in the areas which OSS thrives. The best way I see is that companies hire devs just as they hire admins. They cooperate with a central managing body, like Apache or Mozilla, and all contribute to the software that they use. The benefit is that they could have distributed internal support between all contributors.

This is where is see Ubuntu going as a common base distro.

Reply Parent Score: 1

kaiwai Member since:

Seriously though, I think that this issue brings up on a small scale some of the questions about a world of only Free software that Stallman and FSF supporters have yet to answer adequately. Mainly: Will developers work for free, and if not, who will pay them?

To fine tune that argument further - Will developers work on fixing bugs in software that don't interest them; in otherwords, will they fix a bug that doesn't affect them directly or indirectly? this isn't an attack on the programmers, just bringing up the old notion of self interest.

Its like communism; are you willing to work and give what you can and only take what you need? same goes with programming, for many, its an interest outside their full time occupation, so there fore, is there any incentive for them to work on things that don't affect them directly?

One idea which I like is the idea of bounty's for key bugs or features required - provide an incentive for people to work on the rather unglamorous parts of the software and receive a reward for their hardwork.

Money shouldn't be the only reward; for example, Sun could offer a free workstation, 3 year Solaris and developer subscription for someone who comes up with a replacement for the current sound API - the amount it would cost Sun? sweet bugger all; benefit to their customers; massive to the point that it can't be measured in dollars alone.

As for Stallmans world; its based on the assumption that firstly languages will get to the point that they'll be so high level that almost any man and his dog and contribute; it also assumes that the end user will advance in skills - 20 years of IT so far and I can assure you that the average end user is just as dense, if not more, than they were 20 years ago.

The other assumption is this; that those who work in large companies maintaining large amounts of infrastructure will have employers who are willing for their employees to spend part of the day working on an opensource project that helps their business - considering that the in vogue thing for managers is to scream outsource when in doubt, as if it were the panacea to all of lifes problems, I doubt the above secenario would happen as it would rely on a number of companies working together on the one project in co-operation rather than simply re-inventing the wheel at each company - that would require common sense, which many businesses lack.

Reply Parent Score: 2

fsckit Member since:

I think you're missing the big picture here. They paid the release managers, yet when the developers slow down there's no release. Now exactly who should they have paid to speed up the release? Common sense would say to pay the guys actually working to squash bugs and get the damn thing out the door, not glorified mailing list managers.

Reply Parent Score: 5