Re: SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf

From: Wichert Akkerman <wichert(at)wiggy(dot)net>
To: 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: 2003-07-19 11:29:40
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Previously Ean Schuessler wrote:
> 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 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 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"?

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

We don't.

> 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.

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

Of course there are disadvantages to not using the name Debian; it is
much harder to get donations for example (SPI has needed a second server
for a long time for example but all donations seem to go directly to
Debian). However how is this different from say FSF and the GNU project?
You don't see the FSF being renamed to 'the GNU foundation'. Their goals
are compatible, but they are not the same. Just as Debian and SPI.

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.


Wichert Akkerman <wichert(at)wiggy(dot)net> It is simple to make things. It is hard to make things simple.


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