Request for an open dialog between projects

Jonas Smedegaard dr at
Thu Mar 31 10:10:56 UTC 2011

On Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 03:03:30PM -0700, info at wrote:
>I truly appreciate what Adrian is proposing and appreciate as always 
>that willingness to help especially with JACK and ffado etc.
>I do understand that an idea like Adrian's somewhat can be seen as a 
>'slippery slope' and if you let one mongrel dog in from the cold soon 
>you will have ten of them all with specific needs that differ from 
>Debian's core mandate.

Either I lost you or you are confusing who said what:

Benjamin suggests to tell your users to bypass us and go straight 
upstream with bugs in upstream code.

I recommend to report all bugs at the upstream level closest to you, the 
way that upstream level prefer to have them reported.

Adrian suggests that you systematically add a hint that the packages are 
tied to a derived distribution.  I am not against that specifically, but 
am concerned generally that lowers awareness among _end-users_ about who 
are their closest upstream compared to who they are reporting bugs to.

It seems to me that the "mongrel dog" you are talking about is derived 
distributions, and that I dislike working with those.  I don't!  I love 
Debian being used - both directly by end-users and by indirectly via 
derived distributions like yours.

My concern is another: It is to help you as derivative and your users to 
maintain a good relationship with Debian.  Debian consists of a big 
bunch of individuals and teams, not all of them equally happy working 
with bugreports coming from all corners of the world.  Heck, some even 
dislike working on bugs coming from me, even if I am a Debian Developer 
for 10+ years.  One thing I believe helps in communication is to talk 
straight.  Here it means that the person filing a bugreport - end-users 
of your derived distro - are aware that they are using a derivative, and 
that they are filing the bugreport and discussing it with someone who 
are quite likely unfamiliar with that particular derivation and might 
have political opinions against working with derivatives or whatever.  I 
believe it is better to educate end-users about this than to add a tag 
to the initial bugreport.

>It is not lost on me that the rigorous and unflinching adherence to 
>it's ideals and conventions is what make Debian the wonder that it is, 
>and what makes it the ideal choice for projects like mine.
>To be blunt what I am asking really is for you to be aware of my 
>project and in the infrequent case that a bug report comes your way for 
>a pkg-multimedia issue to say "OK we've heard of it and we'll see if we 
>can help" rather than 'AV Linux...never heard of it, go away!"

If (or when, because it _does_ happen) we say "go away" to _indirect_ 
users of Debian, I believe we violate §4 of the Debian Social Contract:

> Our priorities are our users and free software

Indirect users are users too, IMO.  Some may disagree and say that only 
direct users of Debian are "our users" which means it is only our 
priority to talk to _you_ the maintainer of the derivative, not your 

Since Adrian do not suggest to have you always work as proxy between 
your users and us, I feel we basically agree on interpreting as indirect 
users also being our users.  And I recommend to help teach them what is 
the relationship when they report bugs directly to their "grandparents".

  - Jonas

    * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
    * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website:

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