Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Debian Project and the Free Software Universe

Debian is a distribution backed by a volunteer project of over 1,000 official members and many more volunteers and contributors. It has expanded to encompass around 23,000 packages of free and open source applications and documentation. Debian’s history and structure make it very good at certain things. For example, Debian has a well-deserved reputation for integrated package management and access to a large list of free software applications. However, as a voluntary and largely nonhierarchical organization, Debian had a challenging time providing frequent and reliable releases, corporate support and liability, and a top-down consistency.

Each new distribution exists for a reason. Creating a new distribution, even a derivative, is far from easy. In large part, Ubuntu exists to build off of the many successes of the Debian project while solving some of the problems it struggles with. The goal is to create a synthetic whole that appeals to users who had previously been unable or unwilling to use Debian.

In building off the great work of the Debian project, as well as GNU, Linux, and other projects that Debian is built on, the Ubuntu team wanted to explore a new style of derivation that focused on a tighter interproject relationship within an ecosystem of different developers. While Ubuntu tries to improve and build on Debian’s success, the project is in no way trying to replace Debian. On the contrary, Ubuntu couldn’t exist without the Debian project and its large volunteer and software base, as well as the high degree of quality that Debian consistently provides. This symbiotic relationship between Ubuntu and Debian is mirrored in the way that both Ubuntu and Debian depend heavily on projects such as GNU and Linux to produce great software, which they can each package and distribute. The Ubuntu project sets out explicitly to build a symbiotic relationship with both Debian and their common “upstream.”

The relationship between Ubuntu and Debian has not been simple, straightforward, or painless and has involved patience and learning on both sides. While the relationship has yet to be perfected, with time it has improved consistently, and both groups have found ways to work together that seem to offer major benefits over the traditional derive and forget model. It is through a complex series of technological, social, and even political processes—that Ubuntu tries to create a better way to build a free software distribution.

Source of Information : Prentice Hall The official Ubuntu Book 5th Edition 2010    
The Debian Project and the Free Software UniverseSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl

0 comments: on "The Debian Project and the Free Software Universe"

Post a Comment