Are Debian people real Free Software zealots?
Wow… The amount of press/coverage inside the FS community (not necessarily good press) the Ubuntu people are receiving lately is huge. I smell the possibility where Canonical might face what many people call the ugly side of Debian - But what we, the insiders, call it the most important part of it: Our people’s devotion to the Free Software ideals. Of course, even inside Debian there are all kind of opinions (to the point that Debian’s main activity seems at times to be debating rather than coding), but the general perception is that we are the fundamentalist zealots. It’s only funny to imagine what lies ahead. No, I’m not talking (for people not following planet.debian.org) about Ubuntu’s latest big media scandal, although it might share some connections. Apparently, Canonical wants to grow and bring more people in. And, of course, being a commercial desktop-oriented distribution, being flashy (or in their words, going for the bling) is needed to keep up with the Joneses. This time, it starts (for me) with Scott’s interesting and worthy posting regarding the future of binary blobs and clearly non-free drivers inside Ubuntu. In short: Scott explains why Ubuntu will apparently sacrifice some of its ideals for (what I read as) some extra popularity, and states he is not too happy with it. This, of course, has triggered a load of postings - not necessarily in chronological order, but: Mako, also an Ubuntite, asks people (users, developers) to tell their opinions on this - But he is not at all happy with the direction this might take. Many Ubuntu enthusiasts are voicing their opinions in Wiki form. I guess that Joey’s peace of mind comes also because of this discussion (although I’m only stretching my views). …There is always the debate of whether Ubuntu is good or bad for Debian, as Norbert points out. I’ve tried to stay away from it, quoting one of Luis Echeverría’s famous it’s neither good nor bad, it’s just the opposite. I do think the two systems will eventually diverge too much - But I’m not at all involved in Ubuntu, and I refuse to back my claims ;-) The point of this posting is: When forming Canonical, obviously Mark wanted to gather the best of the best, people who knew their way developing and coordinating an eminently Free and high-quality distribution, but without the distraction of 1000+ developers trying to pull the whole distribution their way. By being the boss, he can ensure a single vision (and not a multitude of egos) drives the excellent work of talented hackers. However, there might be a subtle mistake: Maybe his team are too Debianites? Maybe they will show they are as strongly Free Software (and not Opensource) oriented as they were when they joined Debian? Maybe, even with the unlimited powers that being a SABDFL gives, Mark and the Ubuntu technical committee/community council will have to concede on not having the latest and flashiest, just to keep his elite team happily working? I’m not, of course, blaming them for selling their principles - Of all the commercially-oriented Linux distributions, Ubuntu is clearly the one that stays closer to what I’d like. And it’s not by mere chance that it derives and keeps in constant sync (at least until now) with Debian. Still… This has the potential to make a big dent on their structure and vision.