Re: SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf

From: Ean Schuessler <ean(at)brainfood(dot)com>
To: Wichert Akkerman <wichert(at)wiggy(dot)net>
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org, spi-board(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf
Date: 2003-07-21 18:46:06
Message-ID: 1058813166.1383.17285.camel@sarge
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Lists: spi-general

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 06:29, Wichert Akkerman wrote:
> I already disagree here. Debian's aim is to provide a free operation
> system, developer in an open manner. SPI's aim is to help organisations
> to develop and distribute open hardware and software (see
> It naturally follows that Debian fits
> that very well, but there are also many other projects which fit just
> as naturally.
> Yes, SPI was founded because these services were needed for Debian, but
> the founders were wise enough to realise that Debian is not unique in
> needing them. In my opinion it would be an error to suddenly forget
> about all other projects and focus solely on Debian.

I agree, in every way, that the goals of SPI are praiseworthy. I am not
advocating that we abandon those goals. What I am noting, and you have
failed to address, is the fact that SPI cannot perform any of these
services in any realistic way except by using Debian's resources. It is
entertaining to dream of a SPI that has its own resources that are
greater than Debian's but that SPI does not exist. I think it is time
that we recognize that Debian will foot the bill if any of these legal
adventures go awry.

> Fresco is not a Debian project. It has nothing to do with developing an
> operation system or any of Debian's goals. It's free software, but
> that is about it.

I believe that "being free software" is the only thing that any piece of
software has in common with Debian's goals. Debian's goal is to build a
useful operating system composed entirely of Free Software. It is
natural that Debian, with its many resources, would want to incubate
interesting Free Software projects and aid their success.

> > I mean, don't we host the source, bugs, CVS and other resources for
> > thousands of other Open Source projects?
> We don't.

I don't think that is accurate. At various times, Debian has certainly
become the definative source for various packages when upstream has
abandoned them. I can't think of a definative list but mawk and psutils
come to mind.

> The HURD is not a Debian project. They have their own CVS, their own
> webapges and just happen to (also) use a mailinglist on the Debian
> listserver.

The only HURD bootable by humans bears the Debian name.

> SPI is not a piece of equipment, it is an organisation with its own
> goal. Those are compatible with the goals of Debian, Fresco and many
> other projects (free software and others). Tying it too Debian would
> cause confusion and people missing that fact.

Again, I reiterate my earlier point. The services that SPI claims to
provide cannot be provided without Debian's resources. The copyrights
SPI has pledged to hold and defend will have to be defended with Debian
money if it ever comes to legal blows. That fact has to be recognized.
Debian, as an organization, needs to be on board with SPI's mission or
we will face a disaster when it comes time to perform on the promises we
have made to our projects.

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


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