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Fri, 01 Apr 2011

The Canterbury Distribution

I'm sure you already heard the news about the new joined Canterbury Distribution, and are eager about details.

While our teams are struggling to integrate all the existing infrastructure, it's my pleasure to announce that the first pieces of the collaboration are already available for our users.

As a first measurement, a common Canterbury Package Manager, called cant will be made available in all distributions. It is already available for the distribution formerly known as Archlinux, and with the next mirror push will also be available for those used to run Debian.

You'll be pleased to know, that the command line syntax isn't much of a change, you can still run cant search, cant install or cant remove, but future version will also introduce all the features known from the other distributions.

Stay tuned for further updates of Canterbury Linux!

postet at 15:50 into [Debian] permanent link

Fri, 25 Mar 2011

DebCamp for DebConf 11

If you are wondering, how we will manage to have the DebCamp preceding DebConf 11 in 2009, it's quite easy: Each attendee will find a time machine in his conference back.

By the way: To make that happen, the DebConf orga team is looking for help in fund raising. Please consider helping us, or we will have to cancel the time machines and fall back to the boring DebCamp directly preceding DebConf solution.

postet at 14:48 into [Debian/events/DebConf11] permanent link

Wed, 16 Mar 2011

Video of the Linux New Media Award Ceremony online

I've just been told, that the video of the Linux New Media Award Ceremony (you might remember that Debian won in two categories) is now available online.

Update: To watch that video without a proprietary plugin, you can download the video and watch with xine or some other free media player. Thanks to Rhonda for the hint!

My (German) interview with RadioTux is also available online.

postet at 14:44 into [Debian/events/cebit-2011] permanent link

Tue, 08 Mar 2011

Packaging mendeley for Debian

Someone asked me during CeBIT for official packages of mendeley. I didn't knew much about it at that time, but mentioned it in my report on the debian-project mailing list.

It appears, that mendeley won't be packaged anytime soon, however Charles Plessy and others commented on that and mentioned some similar tools.

As I don't have any contact data for the visitor, who asked me about it, the best thing I can do for now is mention it here, so he might notice it and read the comments on the list.

postet at 22:23 into [Debian/events/cebit-2011] permanent link

Mon, 07 Mar 2011

Debian honoured with LNM award for Outstanding Contribution to Free Software

Those who followed the live stream or read our News already knew it: Debian has been honored with the Linux New Media Award in the Categories "Best Open Source Server Distribution" and Outstanding Contribution to Open Source/Linux/Free Software. Especially the second one, considered to be the "kings class" of the LNM awards, is a great honour.

While it is called the Linux New Media award, the decision of whom to honor with them isn't done by the company themselves, but by a bigger jury, consisting of over 300 representative community members, developers, journalists and companies. Deciding in a secret vote1. To the best of my knowledge, there's nothing similar.

So one can truly say, we weren't awarded by a company, but by the entire Free Software community!

Congratulations to everyone involved!

For our Outstanding Contribution to Open Source/Linux/Free Software award, we also had the special pleasure, to receive our presentation speech from Karsten Gerloff, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe, who found words, I can hardly explain myself. As it might take some time for the video of the award ceremony to be published and several people already asked for it, you'll find the text of the speech below. Still, you might want to watch the video for a special surprise by Karsten:

I'm here to congratulate the Debian project. Debian has recently taken a nearly unprecedented step, one that many people thought would never come to pass: The project has updated its website design.

Today, Debian receives the Linux New Media Award for its outstanding contribution to Free Software. I could hardly think of a more fitting recipient for such an award.

Debian is coming of age, literally. In August, the distribution will turn 18.

Debian offers great technology. It's stable. Really stable. It's highly flexible, and performs well in lots of different roles. IT supports more different architectures than almost anything else out there. It runs on pretty much anything. The package management is great. It makes a highly complex system of almost 30,000 packages extremely simple to configure and use.

Debian started out as a true pioneer. When the project was created in 1993, the whole concept of a distribution wasn't too well established. Ian Murdock announced the project thus:

"Debian Linux is a brand-new kind of Linux distribution. Rather than being developed by one isolated individual or group, as other distributions of Linux have been developed in the past, Debian is being developed openly in the spirit of Linux and GNU. [...] Debian is being carefully and conscientiously put together and will be maintained and supported with similar care."

At a recent conference, the current Debian project lead, Stefano Zacchiroli, gave a talk titled Who the bloody hell cares about Debian?

Turns out that many people do indeed. Debian is the GNU/Linux distribution that has the most derivatives based on it — currently 128, if is to be believed: Ubuntu, Knoppix, gNewSense, and many more. And those distributions again have their own derivatives. None of these could function without Debian.

Lots of people rely on Debian. That makes it all the more important that Debian is so reliable. The Debian project gives us Free Software that is both rock-solid and exciting.

But the greatest thing about Debian is not the fact that it delivers great software. Other distributions do that, too.

The big thing about Debian is the *idea* of Debian: The idea that a massive Free Software project can be totally independent.

Debian shows how it's possible to build a highly reliable operating system without a formal body. The project has created some pretty complex structures to run itself, as a do-ocracy, based on consensus and running code.

This is important. We are currently debating how Free Software projects can best be governed in the long run. How do we make sure that a project's users can always enjoy the freedom they deserve? How can we structure a project in a way that makes it immune to a hostile takeover?

Oracle's acquisition of Sun has shown that these are important question. A Free Software license, preferably one like the GPL that protects freedom in the long run, is an important first step. But a Free Software project consists of much more than code.

While uncounted people and companies are earning good money with Debian, the Debian project itself can't be bought — simply because there is noone you could buy it from. Debian has been doing vendor independence long before it was cool.

What I love most about Debian is that like few other big projects, Debian has the idea of freedom at its core.

Debian's Free Software guidelines are a central manifesto for software freedom. The Debian Social Contract does not mention a single package or program. But it is without a doubt one of Debian's most important pieces of documentation.

In Debian, quality is the focus of everyone's attention. But those who work on the Debian system know that great software is worth nothing without Freedom.

With the release of Squeeze, the latest stable version, in February, Debian has taken the important step of offering a completely free kernel, with no binary blobs. This is a first for a major distribution in recent times. Debian is giving its users Freedom by default.

And this Freedom for users and developers on a massive scale truly is Debian's outstanding contribution, not just to Free Software, but to the information society.

On behalf of the Free Software Foundation Europe, I would like to thank everyone in Debian for their work, and congratulate them on this award. It's well deserved. Keep up the good work!

1: I forgot to mention one small, but important detail: The voting period for the jury ended on December 23, 2010, so long before Squeeze was released. So we can be quite sure, that the Jury didn't followed the Squeeze-Hype with their decision, but really thinks, we did something great :)

postet at 12:20 into [Debian] permanent link

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Alexander Tolimar Reichle-Schmehl lives in Tuttlingen / Germany. He works as IT manager (specialized on Unix and SAN/Storage) for an international automotive supplier.