What have you got to fear?

Creative CommonistsMaybe you have been sitting on the sideline with respect to some of the intellectual property issues that I raise here from time to time. Perhaps deep down, you suspect that all those who push for copyright reform are a bunch of card carrying communists. I mean really, just look at their T-shirts for pity’s sake!

But the reality is that the threat to basic freedoms are real: witness this example, where a radio host was fired for airing material from C-SPAN which is in the public domain.

Sarge vs. The Hoary Hedgehog?

Internetnews.com ran an interesting article about the synergy and tension beween Ubuntu Linux and classic . Ian Murdoch had this to say…

Sarge vs. The Hoary Hedgehog?

But Ian Murdoch, Debian’s founding father, does not believe Ubuntu’s popularity bodes well for Debian-based distros.

“If anything, Ubuntu’s popularity is a net negative for Debian,” Murdoch told internetnews.com. “It’s diverged so far from Sarge that packages built for Ubuntu often don’t work on Sarge. And given the momentum behind Ubuntu, more and more packages are being built like this. The result is a potential compatibility nightmare.”

Murdoch argues that if Ubuntu were truly compatible with Debian, all of the energy going into it could be directed at Sarge and toward getting it released, which is what would really benefit the Debian developer ecosystem as a whole.

“I understand what the Ubuntu folks are trying to do, and they’re doing lots of good work that will eventually find its way into Debian,” Murdoch said. “But what we really need right now as a community is for Sarge to be released.

“In that respect, Ubuntu’s popularity is more harmful than helpful.”

Ian, you are missing the point. I suppose that isn’t really surprising, since the reason that Ubuntu exists at all is because Debian has lost its way.

The reason that Ubuntu exists is actually pretty simple: no existing distribution had the features that people wanted. Among things that people want but have not received are:

  • regular releases
  • modern updates to windowing software and applications
  • excitement! A sense that things are really moving.

Yes, the guys behind Ubuntu could have tried to work within Debian. But they would be forced to participate in what seems like an incredibly bloated, lethargic, unresponsive behemoth. Sarge has been years in the making, and is still at least months away from being ready to ship. The current “stable” release of Debian was first released in January of 2002 for pity’s sake.

And another pet peeve of mine: installation. Debian has the most quirky, oddball install of any popular distribution I’ve found. With Ubuntu, you download an iso, burn it, boot it, answer a couple of questions, and you are done.

Ubuntu should hurt Debian. Debian has seemingly worked at dispersing excitement and enthusiasm rather than generating it. It seems always to be looking backwards, rather than forwards. Some people think that is important, but for a project that relies upon the enthusiasm and excitement of volunteers, it doesn’t seem like a viable strategy.

Opening Day 2005

Opening Day, 2005 in OaklandWell, the game was not the epic stuff that dreams are made of. The Blue Jays roughed up the A’s pretty good, they lead 10-0 at one point, and the A’s did little to quell the fears that they could be a below .500 team this season. The Blue Jay hitters peppered the field with balls that seemed to pathologically be where A’s players were not, and the A’s helped the matter with sloppy fielding, balls skipping over gloves, balls skipping under gloves, balls bouncing off the chest, and hey, even forgetting to cover first base. Sigh.

Still, I took a lot of pictures, had a pizza, an ice cream sandwich and a licorice rope (back on my diet today) and had a great time. Nothing like getting off the Bart in the colliseum and smelling the tailgater’s barbecue wafting over you, and realizing that baseball season has begun.