Re: SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf

From: Ean Schuessler <ean(at)brainfood(dot)com>
To: "Benj(dot) Mako Hill" <mako(at)debian(dot)org>
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org, spi-board(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org, debconf(at)skolelinux(dot)no
Subject: Re: SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf
Date: 2003-07-19 02:12:33
Message-ID: 1058580753.763.5604.camel@sarge
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Lists: spi-general

On Fri, 2003-07-11 at 18:00, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:
> > But SPI caters to more than just Debian. Consider the Fresco project, or
> > the services we provide for OFTC.
> I agree. I also find it problematic. I was presenting this an example
> and as something that I'd heard discussed before.

I will present some of my ideas in a compact form here. I really need to
expand them into a proper document. Here goes...

*** Why SPI is a Dumb Name for the Debian Foundation ***

My contention is that SPI is, and always has been, the Debian
Foundation. Due to an unfortunate naming accident at its inception many
people have become confused about this fact but its true. In every sense
the services that SPI provides, its membership and its mission are
impossible to seperate from the Debian community. Debian is the sole
reason SPI exists and the sole reason it continues to be resurrected
every time it dies.

I know some people will protest and say "what about the projects that
SPI hosts?". Well, what about it? Is there a problem saying "Debian
hosts Fresco"? I mean, don't we host the source, bugs, CVS and other
resources for thousands of other Open Source projects? Take the HURD for
example. We've virtually become the center of development. Does the HURD
have to become a SPI project or is it a Debian project? Can Debian have
projects? Is the distinction even meaningful? I say no.

What I want people to focus on is the concept that Debian is a community
and that community is bigger than just a Linux distribution. When you
look at our philosophy you can see that we are a community first and
foremost and that the OS is just a symptom of our mission and our
beliefs. If producing an OS was job #1 then we wouldn't put philosophy
before market share. But we do, and that is important. Money isn't what
drives us. We have shared values that bind us together as a community
and motivate us to try and change the status quo.

SPI is just a piece of equipment, no different than faure or samosa.
It's a chunk of legal machinery designed to store copyrights and money
the same way as one of our hard drives stores data. Trying to make it
something seperate from Debian is like one of our servers striking out
on its own. Without Debian, SPI has no function, nothing to do and no
one to do it. The power and the people come from Debian and we have
allowed SPI's confusing name to distract us far too long.

Renaming SPI to the Debian Foundation will make its mission clear. It
will disperse suspicions about it and make people comfortable spending
time and effort to make it grow. We can get rid of the perception that
some weird parasitic organization, seperate from Debian, is hanging off
of Debian's neck and sapping its strength. Debian and SPI are the same.
SPI serves Debian. It is our tool. We should eliminate the confusion so
that we can move ahead.

Last, but not least, getting rid of the SPI name will let us ditch that
stupid domain name and speak with one voice and one name.

Ean Schuessler ean(at)brainfood(dot)com
Brainfood, Inc.


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