Linux Foundation CTO criticizes Debian

From the ‘people in glass houses…’ files:

Debian developers have voted in favor of a General Resolution that will allow the Debian Lenny release to go forward. The hangup as I wrote about a few weeks back was over the inclusion of potentially non-Free software. Debian has some strict language and policies as part of its Social Contract which guide the project and inclusion of software components. 

“Since the election concluded, several developers have asked for some statement from the DPL and/or Secretary as to what this result really means,” Bdale Garbee wrote in an email to Debian developers. “This result means that the Debian Lenny release can proceed as the release team has intended, with the kernel packages currently in the archive.”

While the intricacies of Debian politics have always been ‘interesting’ to say the least – this latest round has  got the eye of Linux Foundation CTO Ted Ts’o.  Personally I had always thought that the Linux Foundation was supposed to be an advocating voice for Linux, but Ts’o in a personal blog post laced with literary and biblical references criticizes Debian. Here’s one small excerpt :

“I personally believe that ‘100 percent free software’ is a wonderful aspirational goal, but in particular with regards to standards documents and firmware, there are other considerations that should be taken into account,” Ts’o wrote. “People of good will may disagree about what those exceptions should be, but I think one thing that we should consider as even higher priority and with a greater claim on how we behave is the needs of our users and fellow developers as people. For those who claim Christianity as their religious tradition, Jesus once stated…”

The wonderful thing about Linux is that there is a distribution out there for everyone.

Debian fits a need for many thousands of people and has for over a decade with its Social Contract met those needs. Other distros like Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu meet the needs of others that perhaps aren’t as interested in philosophy or the ideals of 100 percent Free Software.

To each their own. If there is something you don’t like about a particular distro choose another – or if you’re so inclined start your own. That is the true strength of software freedom, the fact that users have choice.

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