After 15 years, Debian again stood at the crossroads.

Source: Internet
Author: User
15 years after the storm, Debian again stood at the crossroads-Linux Release Technology-Debian information. The following is a detailed description. When Ian Murdock was a student, he created the old Linux release version Debian, which also originated from the combination of his wife and his name, we may have heard about the related legends of Debian for countless times. As we all know, Debian is not only one of the largest Linux distributions today, but also as a community-based Open-source software project model, many other GNU/Linux distributions are derived from it.

However, when Debian celebrated its 15th birthday in August 16, this respectable Linux release found itself facing many problems, some of which come from within the project, some of them come from the challenges of new external Linux releases. So what strategies are there for this project? What are the errors? And where will it go in the future?

To discover the answers to these questions, let us review the past, review the present, and look forward to the future.

Achievements in the past 15 years

According to Debian's current project leader Steve McIntyre, the most obvious result of Debian's 15 ups and downs was that it had a larger team. From January 1993, there was only one developer, Ian Murdock, to today's more than 1000 registered developers from around the world, in addition, thousands of community developers are contributing to some work of the system, such as encapsulation, documentation and translation.

According to McIntyre estimates, in the next version to be launched this fall, Debian will include 23000 packages and provide support for 10 different hardware architectures, including i386 and AMD64, there is also PowerPC or iSCSI, which cannot be compared with other releases.

However, even though Debian contains more and more things, it is still one of the most stable and reliable Linux distributions, and Debian users will not have to reinstall the system after a while as Windows users do.

At the same time, McIntyre expressed his appreciation for the concept of this project. In the Debian chapter and Debian Social Contract Documents, he wrote: "All our development is open and free, in every stage of our development, all source code is provided for research and use. We do not hide our own problems-our vulnerability tracking system is also open to the outside, and people can search and browse it without logging on. As we grow, many ideas of Debian have been spread to other projects in the Linux community ."

Ian Murdock, creator of Debian, also expressed his appreciation for the project. But compared with McIntyre, Murdock mainly gave the praise to the development model and package management system of the project.

In addition to the Linux kernel itself, "we are one of the first projects to realize that the power of Open Source Software comes from the community," Murdock said. "Many Debian plans are made after careful consideration. When I created Debian, I was still a student. I had limited time, and I knew that I could not do everything well on my own, so we began to clearly consider how to use the power of the outside world. I still remember when I switched this project completely to the open-source community, people said this model would not succeed. However, it turns out that this step is wise. I think the impact of Debian on the open-source development model is unparalleled ."

Murdock also praised Debian's application management system. He said, "Debian was the first Linux release with a Unix package system." At that time, due to the slow speed of the Internet, the software could be compressed to a floppy disk, therefore, the package system is a required choice. However, it turns out that this is indeed a very good system management method.

Dependency resolution is particularly important. It has been applied to many places outside the Debian project, including the. RPM package system.

Not long ago, former Debian project leader Martin Michlmayr stressed that Debian has a history of solving many long-standing problems.

Michlmayr said, "Debian has gone a long way over the past few years and we have solved many key problems that have plagued us for several years. From a technical point of view, we have made Debian easier to install, configure, and use. In addition, we have made a lot of improvements in the development process and Community optimization. You will find that the current Debian community atmosphere is quite good ."

When talking about the development trend of the project and the responsibilities of the Team, Michlmayr continued, "our core team has finally achieved significant development. Our team has had many structural problems over the past few years and is not highly motivated. However, we have recently added new volunteers to many teams, such as version release, security, and FTPmaster teams. New members inject new vigor into these teams ."

Review problems on the 15th anniversary

On the 15th anniversary of Debian, looking back on its past, we believe it has achieved impressive results, but it is undeniable that it also has many internal problems, in summary, there are several problems: first, how to ensure the cultivation and development of its own strength, and second, how to solve the increasingly complex problems of Debian itself, third, there is still a lack of clear-cut leaders.

The first increasingly important question is, how can we not lag behind projects that can be supported by large companies in Debian and other open-source projects developed by volunteers? "There are several areas that we are trying to catch up with," said Michlmayr ." However, he also said that Debian also has some features that are not available in other Linux distributions. For example, Debian supports network attached storage devices.

Another serious problem is how long Debian will continue to develop. Debian used to reach its natural limits several times. However, in other words, Debian is now much larger than most companies, the ability to continue to grow is no longer predictable.

Even though Debian is already so large, its R & D team has done a great job. They have adopted the method of transferring most of the work to individual developers or small teams, let Debian continue to develop. However, as this project continues to grow, communication between different developers will gradually become a test. In addition, as Debian uses more and more resources and more development teams enter its development, the workload of the Debian team will obviously continue to increase.

In fact, Murdock, founder of Debian, hinted that the development of Debian has been hindered by its scale. As it grew up, it began to show the characteristics of some major institutions, such as the serious bureaucracy and too many red tape. For example, it is unacceptable for a volunteer to become an official developer to go through a complicated approval process and long wait time.

Murdock believes that one of the clearest critical weaknesses in Debian is that, while this project is trying to maintain growth without losing its goal, what is lacking most is a "enthusiastic leadership style" of a well-intentioned dictatorship who can effectively make decisions based on the actual situation, at the same time, different groups related to the project are combined to develop in an orderly manner.

Any organization wants to have such a leader, whether it is a commercial company or an open-source project. However, even with such a leader, how can the Debian project maintain its own openness and respect for the opinions of most people in its main decision-making? This is another difficult problem. Perhaps, as a non-commercial project, Debian does not need an efficient decision-making strategy as profitable companies do.

Looking into the future, where will Debian go?

While Debian is still looking for a leader to suit itself, Mark Shuttleworth has taken his Ubuntu to the forefront, and Debian-based Ubuntu has surpassed its predecessors in popularity. The new version is released on a regular basis, along with commercial support from Canonical, which adds up to a greater trust in Ubuntu.

The popularity of Ubuntu may prove that the role of Debian is changing. It is no longer the first choice for many common users, but has developed into an upstream provider that highlights a user-centered release. The reliability of Debian applications and powerful package management functions make Debian more suitable for this role.

Perhaps Michlmayr is more accurate in locating the relationship between Debian and Ubuntu. He believes that the relationship is complementary and can be selected by users with different needs. Users who agree with Debian's non-commercial value will still be attracted by it, while those who prefer the latest version and pay more attention to user friendliness will take Ubuntu as the first choice.

However, even the status of Debian as the "most open" Linux release is being threatened by other releases, such as GNewSense, which is a Debian-based release and BLG. The main feature of these new Linux releases is that they remove the patent right from the kernel and create a truly "free" Linux release, this is totally different from Debian, Ubuntu, and most mainstream Linux distributions.

To save your honor, Debian may need to think about how to deal with the patented products used in its kernel, and perhaps move them to a non-free software library, for the software in this library, you need to think carefully before installing them. However, as in the past, Debian does not seem to be eager to make a decision in this regard.

The above challenges have already affected Debian. In the past few years, the growth trend of Debian has gradually slowed down. However, new developers are constantly joining this great team and injecting new vigor into it to cope with increasingly complex system development and management.

Of course, it cannot be ruled out that the role of Debian will change, but its influence in the industry is still important. Maybe it can bring us another completely different 15 years.

Source: IT168 Author: Oriental spider Compilation
Related Article

Contact Us

The content source of this page is from Internet, which doesn't represent Alibaba Cloud's opinion; products and services mentioned on that page don't have any relationship with Alibaba Cloud. If the content of the page makes you feel confusing, please write us an email, we will handle the problem within 5 days after receiving your email.

If you find any instances of plagiarism from the community, please send an email to: and provide relevant evidence. A staff member will contact you within 5 working days.

A Free Trial That Lets You Build Big!

Start building with 50+ products and up to 12 months usage for Elastic Compute Service

  • Sales Support

    1 on 1 presale consultation

  • After-Sales Support

    24/7 Technical Support 6 Free Tickets per Quarter Faster Response

  • Alibaba Cloud offers highly flexible support services tailored to meet your exact needs.