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Do People Really Want Debian To Be Ubuntu?

As more time goes on and the encrustation of hype grows even more thick and impenetrable around Ubuntu I find it more and more difficult to gauge what people are really thinking about the wholesale incorporation of Debian into Ubuntu. OS News linked to a a weblog post that considers a lot of these points which is fine and great but the creepy part is that the Ubuntu folks (and by that I mean users and not the developers) should be thinking about the relationship between the two a bit more seriously and thinking about the friction between them before Ubuntu, as it inevitably will, becomes a commercial or otherwise non-free entity.

At this point I really wish Ubuntu would become a commercial product with some more really stupid marketing and a prohibitively high price tag if only to spare the Debian developers more grief and the incessant whining about including closed drivers and the like into the main tree despite the fact that the Debian Social Contract says that Debian won't do that. That social contract so often kicked around and made fun of by new converts in various forums is going to become more important if and when Ubuntu is commercialized.

The beneficial part about Debian (as a project) being a relatively closed (from the user perspective: expecting to land on the web site and be greeted with marketing materials) environment that pays little attention to public perception of it is that they're more concerned with actually assembling software into a flexible whole that isn't assembled for a specific purpose (like the desktop) or a particular architecture. Whether or not you can play Flash games with an out of the box (oh lord, what a misnomer that is) is immaterial to the direction in Debian development and when x distribution changes licensing or folds or just starts making stupid design decisions you will be glad that Debian operates in such a strict manner and at a seemingly glacial pace. Why? Because the next flavor of the month Debian-derived distribution will be out and trying to conquer the world with icons and new, improved wallpapers before you can wear out the Cafepress t-shirt you bought to show off your allegiance. I've (too) often harped on the popularity of Debian derivatives draining resources from the main project but that is personal crankiness as the project makes it ridiculously easy to do exactly that and doesn't compete with the new jacks by selling, well, anything.

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