Subject: Re: Debian redefines itself
To: =?UTF-8?B?UHJ6ZW15c8WCYXcgUGF3ZcWCY3p5aw==?= <>
From: Tobias Nygren <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 04/18/2007 21:59:24
Przemysław Pawełczyk wrote:
> Hi,
> I've read an interesting succinct article about Debian 4.0 latest
> release. I will quote a few lines, and I'd like to know what official
> representatives of NetBSD Community would answer me if I asked them
> how NetBSD and Debian 4.0 could be compared within the quoted subjects.
> The chapter titles below emphasize my questions.
> Full article:
> 1) for "vovices" and "experts" attitude
> (...) Now, as Debian developers and users have deserted the distro for
> Ubuntu, does Debian have a purpose any more? (...) The philosophy behind
> the release is best summarized (...) "We will do everything we can to
> make things very easy for the novice, while allowing the expert to tweak
> things."
> 2) "traditional do-it-yourself" versus "need to work with new users"
> In other words, instead of trying to compete directly with distros like
> Ubuntu for ease of use, Debian is experimenting with a different
> approach. While growing aware of the need to work with new users, it is
> also preserving some of the traditional do-it-yourself approach of free
> software by giving users the chance to learn more about their operating
> system should they choose. This philosophy shows in every aspect of
> Debian 4.0, from its install program to its desktop, software
> installation, security, and software management.
> 3) "encrypted logical volume manager"
> An especially strong example of how the installer tries to appeal
> simultaneously to different kinds of users is the partitioning section.
> Users can choose not only to manually partition, or to be guided
> through the process, but also whether to use an unencrypted or
> encrypted logical volume manager.
> 4) "MPlayer without codecs"
> Other changes include the installation of MPlayer, which allows the
> playing of videos in Mozilla-based browsers -- although Debian 4.0
> leaves out the Win32 codecs (...)
> 5) "Debian 4.0 treats users as students"
> Recently, the goal of many distributions seems to have become to be a
> free version of Windows for users without much understanding of their
> operating system. Debian counters that trend. Instead of accepting that
> users prefer to be ignorant, Debian 4.0 treats users as students -- as
> people who may initially lack knowledge, but who are capable of
> learning.
> Regards,
> p2o2
> --
> Przemysław (p2o2) Pawełczyk <>
> The LearN@BSD Project:

I'm not going to go into detail on each of those subjects, and I assure
you that you will not get an "official" reply. Each developer has his
own opinions, here's mine: I think you should reevaluate your
understanding of what NetBSD is. We are not trying to be a Microsoft
Windows replacement. Our scope is in fact much larger than that.
Here's some good reading:

I love the idea of NetBSD on the desktop, but we must keep focused
on the project goals. The differences between Ubuntu and Debian can
almost all be explained by reading their respective project goals.
Btw, you do realize that by posting these off-topic mails you are
distracting people who would otherwise be coding and committing new
features, right?