Pondering a switch back to Debian

With Mark Shuttleworth reorienting his company and the Ubuntu brand towards more “professionalism” and away from human and social values, I was wondering whether I should switch back to my old home distribution, Debian GNU/Linux.

Debian has a social contract and is a 100% volunteer-driven project. It isn’t subject to the whims of a company owner like Mark Shuttleworth, a board of directors or a group of shareholders. The only person roughly in that position of power is the Debian Project Leader (DPL), but we as a community can get rid of that guy or girl when they make mistakes and we want to see them gone. It’s a very democratic and, again, totally community-driven thing.

The Debian Social Contract has only had two minor changes in 13 years, and Debian itself has had only 11 project leads in 17 years. Despite the squabbles and problems making final, stable releases in short order, the project has been in this game for far longer than Canonical and has been steadily forging ahead like a steamboat. Slow, but very steady.

I’m switching my netbook to Debian testing right now, and my work machine will probably follow once I’ve found my sea legs again. It’s been a few years since I’ve had Debian on the desktop. If all goes well, my desktop box can jump right in afterwards.

PS: Salvatore, if you’re reading: Yes, I will try out PC-BSD as well before dumping Debian on the desktop 🙂

3 thoughts on “Pondering a switch back to Debian”

  1. Yo Homi.

    I haven’t investigated the topic deeply yet, but so far you are the only voice I’ve heard whining about ubuntu focussing less on social values and more towards ‘professionalism’. The link you posted seems to cover only the graphic design aspects of the new ubuntu. Now I wonder: How bad is it really? I heard about a flame between Mark Shuttleworth and the community as he decided against the majority of the voices to place the window buttons on the top left corner. But this is not quite the kind of things I care about. It doesn’t make ubuntu less open-source (besides the fact that I prefer to have them placed there as well). And even if there will be a significant change in the key values of ubuntu, what can be bad about it, if a core team of a project narrows / refines its focus, while the community is still free to contribute on aspects, that are left out by the core team?

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  2. Well, the new key values for the Ubuntu project are “precision, reliability, collaboration and freedom”. That’s nice enough, but it’s not the social and human spirit the project was started with.

    I guess I simply feel more comfortable with an entirely community-driven product without the possibility of corporate control.

    The issue about the buttons is just silly, and I think they reversed it in the last minute before 10.4? At any rate, that wasn’t a big issue, but it did make me raise an eyebrow at the Ubuntu decision process. I’m sure that in Debian, the discussion about the whole issue would still be raging on, but at least there might not be a place for snap decisions.

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