Is the war with Debian an even fight?

Despite of previous friction with Devuan oligarchy, and preference to hard working antix, possibly mx as well, those few people are putting up one hell of a fight to stay afloat as Debian derivatives.  Debian has always been good with having clones, and forks, and derivatives of all kinds, but in the past 6-7 years they are good as long as all those puppets incorporate systemd.  If they don’t, Debian seems to intentionally try to make life very hard for them.  Is it fair?  It is not a question of fairness, Debian doesn’t have to accommodate anyone trying to share its dominance.  Is it likely that those who challenge its domination can survive the war?

We know that Debian incorporates 100s, maybe 1000s of developers and software groups, in a tremendous hierarchy on who has the say in what goes into a repository and when.  Each one of those seems to be fine, morally, with the tendency to bundle up as many pkgs together just so remotely related pieces of software will depend on the init system.  It is amazing how these days you can attempt to install an insignificant gui and apt wants to rip off half of your desktop, install another, and make sure there is init system dependency within it.  If you are in Debian you don’t notice those things or perceive them as negative, nor to it affect all the systemd controlled distributions based on Debian.  Even the likes of Ubuntu and Mint seems to have given up on their effort to maintain composure under Debian without systemd.

Will in the long run small groups trying vigorously to stay afloat on Debian, with alternative init systems, make it?  Hoping that they do, expecting that they will, and investing in this bet are very different things.  On a daily basis without being able to see it coming, there is an attack.  An attack in the form of a package that for years it was structured and depended in one way, suddenly is rearranged in such a way that its dependency structure needs the Debian init system or its libraries to work.  It also brings in more conflicts than it did before.  Some of them totally unnecessarily.  It is like a bully that barges in and says “it is either he goes or I am not working”.   Just imagine, a conspiracy of thousands against a few handfuls of programmers.  But refracta, and devuan, and mx, and antix, and maybe others that I can’t think of at the time, are still working.  If they gain enough supporters in this struggle they could possibly afford their own repositories, servers, and mirrors, and separate from Debian.  But they will have to try and survive on their own independent merit.

So what about Arch?  Arch is based on systemd!  Arch is also committed in supporting those who want to built the most minimalist system with the least possible complexities and interdependencies  They seem pretty fair and square in their claims of values and principles.  So basing a system on arch and replacing systemd is nowhere as complex as it is with Debian.  This also proves that upstream things are semi-OK still, it is Debian (and redhat) that fabricate this difficulty, and it is not inherent.  When Debian talks about Debianizing a package, they mean that they are bundling it together with a whole chain of stuff.

So we respect all those who have tried, those who are still trying, and those who possibly may try in the near future, but one can’t help in realizing that it is merit for the struggle for the sake of the battle.  There is very little light in the end of the tunnel of hope that things would change soon.  Not with Debian on the wheel of more than half of distributions and more than half of the market there doesn’t seem to be much hope.

Now, Obarun, Artix, Void, Gentoo, and a handful of others seem to really bring hope back.  Booting up any of those systems mentioned in this article and comparing it to a Debian desktop, makes you think “what are all those people thinking, can’t they see this systemd is doomsday?”, it is a struggle through the maze just to get to console and log in.

Again Steve Litt’s article about the braking system of a bicycle Not So Fast, Slick comes to mind and shutters some hope.  Debian will either conquer or go down with its init system.  Newer faster machines seem to be unable to cope with the rate of systemd complexities.  It is almost like windows where people bought a newer pc with faster processor and more memory and a later edition of windows only discovering that overall it is still almost as slow as the older one.  And this speed chase opens all kinds of doors to security problems, such as spectre and meltdown.  We have not seen anything yet.

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17 thoughts on “Is the war with Debian an even fight?

  1. it is possible to systematically fight what debian is doing to itself. if you think debian is too wily a foe, consider the position that microsoft is in– all their money, power and direct efforts to stop gnu, and here we are 30 years later.

    one thing we cannot rely on is everyone joining hands and fighting debian with a unified effort. i think it might even be better if people that dont agree take different routes to a systemd-free distribution. and the very fact that some do this better than others… arent you glad there are debian alternatives right now? unification is for systemd, imo. and if thats unification, you can keep it.

    but– on the matter of less redundant effort, it would be FANTASTIC to have a buglist of things systemd has messed with. it could cover multiple distributions, it could be prefixed with the distro name “DEBIAN: correct hwclock functionality deprecated by systemd (details: hwclock only works reliably when pc clock is set to utc; systemd functionality modeled after this)” and if its not debian-specific it could be prefixed MULTIPLE (until some clever person makes a distro with that name.) it would be a lot easier for distro maintainers to fix bugs caused by systemd if they could find them faster. its a good place for a collaborative, inter-distro effort. some who are interested should consider setting it up. (where do you go to setup a bug tracker? theres always launchpad but the gnu equivalent is probably better, since canonical controls launchpad.)

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  2. I think, codeinfig, you are allowing your very conservative viewpoints to show through. Unification can exist on the basis of a minimal agreement. You are basing your assumptions that because people “recently” don’t seem to be able to unify, they can’t and will not. You even take it further to pass a value judgement that it is better. Better for whom?
    Gnu is such a minimal agreement of unification, and you are saying it yourself. The all mighty and powerful corporation, with countless efforts against the interests of users, and from benefiting from a general monopoly, it is exploiting users for more and more money. It wasn’t able to defeat and wipe out this challenger called gnu, because powerless individuals, users, were unified under that umbrella. Gnu developers and users working together have been able to break the absolute monopoly.

    Individuals and small groups don’t have that power, and that small group that started microsoft did not built its little monopoly based on fairness and open competition ideals. It took many to make the financially beneficial choice to enforce MS, in large organizations, public or private, it took banking tricks to get competitive software to fall in the hands of the monopoly, and many dirty tricks to get key software obsolete if they weren’t part of the monopoly. It also took conspiracies of large hardware manufacturers to cooperate with ms to drive the competition out of the market.
    It also takes strangling the media to remain silent on the risks of using the monopoly’s software and never refer to the true competitors’ advantages, to such an extent that the vocabulary was affected in media. Reporters would substitute words for MS trademarks, call a browser an explorer, call an email system an outlook, a word processor “word”, a spreadsheet an excell-sheet, a visual presentation a “powerpoint” etc. etc.. Like Hoover had done with the vacuum cleaner.

    There are countless benefits to unification, and yes not all can be united, but those that can unite can gain power out of unity. The ones who have concentrated 95% of the earth’s wealth, and 95% of the earth’s political power, have some unity between them to maintain this power. They are a small group of people with tremendous power achieved through unity and organizational efforts. Call it banking, call it G7, call it WTO, call it the UN, the IMF/WB/IBRD, NATO, EU/EEC, they are united and they rule. They rule on the basis and on the system that keeps the majority unable to unite. The fallacy of the propaganda that it is good to be different and unique, the lie that we have many choices, and the hallucination that we can achieve anything alone.

    The powerful, who are united, sell individualism to those who are exploited and oppressed. And of course the idiots are buying it because they think having 10 different cheap Chinese tv-sets to choose from at Wal-Mart is a freedom of choice. The same way the idiots vote, for “the best chinese tv on the wal-mart shelf”. Free people! Free to be homeless, free to starve to death, free to not seek medical services when sick, free to stay illiterate, free to not have a square foot of land to call their own, and free to vote for any rich man or rich men’s puppet they like.

    “And the billboard says, come and play, come and play..” RAtM

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  3. you are allowing your very conservative viewpoints to show through.

    on what superficial dichotomy do you lump all my viewpoints together as “conservative?” that im only a socialist at heart, i dont trust most leaders because the record gives us no reason to do so? are we talking classical conservative, neo-conservative, or some other type? i know better than to expect a purely american pov from you, so is there something about the european, asian or canadian definition that applies here?

    i think youre relying too much on labels. which is fine, unless you want to understand where im coming from. im not sure labels will help as much there.

    Unification can exist on the basis of a minimal agreement.

    yes, but thats not what people normally mean by “unification.” thats like saying if you put a couple wheels together and a large engine you can still call it a “bicycle.” you can, too– but thats probably not what it will be called. politics are a spectrum, theyre not boxes.

    You are basing your assumptions that because people “recently” don’t seem to be able to unify, they can’t and will not.

    youre making things i say into more black and white than i did. im talking about likelihood, youre talking about will or wont. if i used terms that led to such a misunderstanding, then its my fault– you still misunderstood me.

    You even take it further to pass a value judgement that it is better. Better for whom?

    i meant in terms of autonomy– so to answer your question: “better for everyone that doesnt want canonical calling the shots.”

    this is absurd to argue with– if debian has too much control and their meddling has to repaired– if debian censors their mailing lists, why on earth would you put your bug tracker under control of canonical? please answer that, because that was the only thing i thought was “better” to avoid. VALUE judgement? autonomy can be a value, but i thought we were on the same page there.

    you prove my point– unity relies on understanding. even when our values overlap, people dont understand each other. so how do you make unity work then?

    “better” (more easily accomplished, in this instance and use of the word) for people to demonstrate what they mean, and then use the demonstration as an aid to explanation. this is often referred to as “meritocracy,” but if this keeps up our talk will be reduced entirely to semantics and get endlessly tedious.

    why? because lots of words have multiple meanings. this isnt torah study here, its suppoed to be plain and simple english. if you read between the lines, between the lines that are between the lines, then youre reading something entirely different than what i said.

    i mean thats just too much leeway for an understanding– and i thought we had one.

    but its all good, i dont think youre misunderstanding me on purpose. however if you tell me what i mean and i say “no, i didnt mean that at all” and then i reiterate and clarify, and you insist (hypothetically) that you know what i mean more than i did– well, thats going to get very pointless, i might as well let you talk for me.

    lets not have that, i mean thats what happened with antix, didnt it?

    Gnu is such a minimal agreement of unification, and you are saying it yourself. The all mighty and powerful corporation, with countless efforts against the interests of users, and from benefiting from a general monopoly, it is exploiting users for more and more money. It wasn’t able to defeat and wipe out this challenger called gnu, because powerless individuals, users, were unified under that umbrella. Gnu developers and users working together have been able to break the absolute monopoly.

    ^ theres enough for several posts about why this is debateable. i dont entirely disagree, and yet its very possible to disagree.

    all i meant is:

    1. a gnu bugtracker would not be under the control of a monopoly.
    2. the canonical one is (if you use launchpad)
    3. i dont know other bugtrackers. im sure a few exist.

    im not against using launchpad except that it might be setting ourselves up if we rely on it. think photobucket, or other sites that have folded.

    you made it out in an unintended declaration of political values. really, theres no need for that– not because those values are secret, but because theyre not relevant and will lead to (obvious) confusion.

    There are countless benefits to unification, and yes not all can be united, but those that can unite can gain power out of unity.

    there are countless benefits to forking, to OPTIONAL autonomy, and no not all can be independent, but those that can stand on their own can lend a hand to others without having to get permission first.

    youre making this either/or, i think. or perhaps i did, quite unintentionally!

    there is room in the world for unity and for independence. im sure we need certain amounts of both. how much is certainly up for debate.

    The ones who have concentrated 95% of the earth’s wealth, and 95% of the earth’s political power, have some unity between them to maintain this power. They are a small group of people with tremendous power achieved through unity and organizational efforts. Call it banking, call it G7, call it WTO, call it the UN, the IMF/WB/IBRD, NATO, EU/EEC

    im not sure this is relevant to what we are doing in an everyday sort of way.

    yes, via lobbyists and regulatory capture and sheer wealth and corruption, these things do connect sometimes. microsoft is still fighting gnu/linux.

    all im saying is, if we require “unity” then lets keep it loose enough that we dont all have to “unite” under something increasingly ridiculous, like: debian.

    hopefully my concern there is more important than my politics– because thats all i really meant, you know.

    The fallacy of the propaganda that it is good to be different and unique, the lie that we have many choices, and the hallucination that we can achieve anything alone.

    this is too broad for me to debate with. everything i write is done with free software (and a little proprietary firmware, alas– its on the chip innit? i havent got a jtag dongle and i do like to reuse hardware when possible.) and my favourite language– python– was built on the lessons/effort of other languages.

    i wasnt trying to say that we really achieve anything “by ourselves” but this is far outside the scope of anything i was actually talking about.

    i mean youre turning one post of mine into an entire derived personal philsophy.

    dont. i didnt write it for that purpose, but to talk about A BUGTRACKER. please, keep it at that scale if you want to follow what im saying.

    The powerful, who are united, sell individualism to those who are exploited and oppressed. And of course the idiots are buying it because they think having 10 different cheap Chinese tv-sets to choose from at Wal-Mart is a freedom of choice.

    freedom goes beyond choices, thats a great topic about free software vs “options” in windows. but again, youre deriving the history of democracy from a post about a bugtracker.

    i know its good to have everything in context, but youre taking something specific, uprooting it and planting it into something far, far too broad for it to be relevant to what i said.

    if you want to talk about broader topics thats your right, its your blog. the problem is only that youre transplanting what i said specifically into–

    well, every extremely broad thing you said, which had really nothing at all to do with what i was saying.

    its your right, but i dont recommend it unless you want to WILDLY misunderstand me. thats my concern there.

    and if thats my fault somehow– then i take it back!

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  4. i sometimes forget that wordpress will eat certain things i do to separate quotes from my replies, and that it wont let me edit after mangling the input. i will have to be more careful than that. i replied like an email, out of habit. that wont work here.

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  5. i will say in this way that politics (in the governmental sense) ought not to be relevant here–

    freedom 0 is the freedom to use the software for any purpose.

    free software / software freedom is not just for conservatives.

    it is not just for liberals.

    libertarians are not all conservative, theyre an entire spectrum of other politics.

    in this sense, “free software” and political views have nothing to do with each other.

    you can show connections, yes. but you can make liberal as well as conservative as well as several other political arguments FOR free software.

    if everyone has to be liberal first to use free software– then freedom 0 is failing and everyone is less free. THIS IS NOT to say that you implied anything of the sort– but if you were to hypothetically, i hope you will consider the possibility that its rebutted.

    in short: my politics shouldnt matter (much) here. they may not amount to more than ad hom (even if its polite and well-intended, i argue that its still not entirely relevant.)

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  6. i thought this was a very good idea on your part, although this is now also coloured by the (possible) fact that ive already been censored from that site once today, and i havent even registered (or posted or edited) yet!

    im still not sure WHICH site (let alone page) was censored today, im looking into that now– hence the use of the word “possible.”

    BECAUSE of editing and wiki censorship, i thought a “real bugtracker” might be better than a wiki. i dont actually prefer “real bugtrackers” but i dont normally need one either. this might call for one. im still open to the wiki idea, im just slightly less enthusiastic about it after getting wiped off a wiki today. (as i said, i didnt even post to it. but someone else did, and it was speedily reverted as if this were wikipedia, not a place to talk about software and solutions.)

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  7. another possiblity: setup a project at github. Built in issue tracker and we can collaborate for maintaining a README.md page and other sub-pages. github has a wiki framework, byt I don’t have the energy to build something in wiki format.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, very good idea, but let us not get sidetracked here.
    What is the definition of a distribution, who has published one, and under what circumstances would creating a github or a sf account to publish work is within the guidelines or not.
    The more strict the rules become the more necessary the need for publication of rules and guidelines is. Even distrowatch was listing distros whose whose work was not at the time (at least) published or the sourcecode open. For a long time they had a listing of something that was only binaries, based on another distro, but their code was not available. If there is one I know there must be more.
    What makes Debian one category of derivatives and Devuan an equal other?
    I had made a mistake and joked in an article here that Debian was a derivative of Devuan with the peculiarity of only a single init system being able to work. Bad joke, very bad joke. Devuan publicly and through open source code for its repository handling, uses Debian repositories.

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  9. My definition of politics is: exchange of ideas and attitudes, opinions and positions on things that are mutual, things we share. The exercise of trying to influence what happens with what we “may” have in common is politics. So I can hardly think that we can talk about anything without “politics” being relevant. But I understand that this is the definition I go by, and it applies at work, in the neighborhood, at school, within a family, a group of friends, a tribe, a nation, a religious group, a country, and maybe a planet.

    My use of the term conservative has nothing to do with partisan politics, especially US partisan politics when the entire parliamentary arena is constituted of conservatives. My use of the word relates to its more lingual definition, of pessimists who do not pursue or expect social change to take place. For social change to take place a degree of unity is necessary, and that comes with organizing and defining what the unity is based on. The act of getting together and saying at time 11:15 tomorrow we will all make one step towards the west together. A tremendous power within a stew of people moving in all directions constantly. It could shift the earth from its orbit!

    More specifically I will return as I now got to go 🙂

    PS If we were talking motorcycles it may had been hard to involve “politics” because each buys and likes his own. But if motorcycles were made in the gnu sense of free and open, we would again be talking about politics. We all are trying to influence something we share. Something we need to share in order for it to exist. Systemd is not challenging microsoft or apple, if nothing else it is trying to be the same.

    PS2 How did we get Vince in the middle of all this I don’t know. Maybe you FigOS you can re-edit your comment above and I will replace it to what you want. Maybe I should separate this talk to another thread, you tell me. I don’t make individual decisions on things that belong to others as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Vince, I/we don’t know you and we have no beef with you.
    The proposed changes listed below were entered yesterday and a note was sent through this blog via comment to Alien Bob that a proposed change was submitted. Due to some errors and changes I had to make I entered the system several times, found my edits and corrected them (like a wrong link for FigOS and amd64 support). The edits were there! Alien Bob made an account and logged in there himself after I did and the log displays his proposed edits. Mine were completely wiped out together with the response-reason for not including FigOS, which I saw myself the night before.

    So, please help out the misunderstanding and tell us what is your wiki’s guideline for what constitutes a “distribution” and what constitutes a derivative, a clone, or something that should not be included.
    Specifically, why can’t FigOS be included in your list of derivatives, as it is, and furthermore why is AntiX and MX debian derivatives, but Devuan is a distribution. They sure have been around longer and the amount of work they have done is in multiples greater than that of Devuan. Is Debian alphabetically higher than Arch?

    I can go on and on, but I will refrain at the moment.

    +

    https://sysdfree.wordpress.com/135#LiveSlak

    +

    +

    LiveSlak is listed incorrectly, the developer contacted me about it, what is listed here is a fork of LiveSlak in Chinese

    +

    The link above which is a copy of the list is now corrected, so check and copy back if you like.

    +

    +

    +

  11. LiveSlak Provides a Live version of Slackware proper: i486, amd64
  12. +

  13. LiveSlak – mdrights Chinese fork of Alien Bob’s LiveSlak: i486, amd64
  14. +

    +

    Also FigOS is added on: https://sysdfree.wordpress.com/135#FigOShttps://sysdfree.wordpress.com/135#FigOS

    +

    +

  15. FigOS ex-Refractapup is a combination of a Puppy Linux build and Refracta created using a fig script; i686
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  17. I apologize for butting in but you haven’t introduced yourself clearly as someone able to set guidelines about what a developer should do or handle their publication of their work. Don’t take it the wrong way, I do not care for you ID, but under what authority and status can an anonymous commenter come out and impose guidelines?

    Patriarchy is like Nazism, it is for the common benefit and the common health of the “group”.

    I truly wish at this point that without-systemd can come out and make a similar claim to ours, that we do not have developers and distribution owners in our editorial board nor are we puppets of any specific distribution or a derivative. I speak of unity elsewhere and I speak of politics, but we have yet to discuss the foundation, the terms, and guidelines of such unity. Unity among unequals, among the powerful and the powerless is a transvestite of the status quo.

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  18. pessimists who do not pursue or expect social change to take place.

    this is a fair but still inaccurate assessment.

    in the broader sense, politics are unavoidable and even beneficial to discuss. the 4 freedoms can be classified as political.

    however, i dont think im as conservative (by any definition) as you think.

    i do believe in social change in the long run, the very act of writing free software is social change.

    i am a pessimist by nature, sometimes optimistic– some people think im too optimistic. but that applies to so many things.

    some things are worth starting before waiting for consensus. if that makes me “conservative” then i call bs– but no real harm done.

    vince is vince, i would vote for him to continue to participate as he wishes. not that we should vote on that, just to clarify my position.

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  19. youre *not* vincet, i dont think. though if you said you were, id believe it.

    i have some philosophical problems with without-systemd right now, but the fact that they didnt include fig os (when there are more obvious distros they dont considered qualified either) isnt what bothers me. by their own criteria, devuan may not be a distro (i wont attribute those words, but theyre not mine. i can certainly appreciate the logic of that statement though.)

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  20. since vince has known me for a long time, i made a suggestion on this page and vince replied with a way to achieve it. if theres sidetracking you can blame me, i started it– it was not however intended as a sidetrack.

    this actually predates the discussion of wiki editing, from where i stand. from where i stand meaning “as far as i know, unless of course im mistaken, which is possible.” but i dont think anyone is butting in or sidetracking. i had misgivings about the wiki and vinces suggestion was timely imo.

    but if we are getting off track i think you should blame me instead. then again, im happy to state it was well intended (and intended to be relevant.)

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