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Why Debian?

masonbee
masonbee Debian

In recent days I have moved all of my computers over to Debian. Why Debian? Well, this post is an attempt to answer that and be warned, it is mostly political.

Table of Contents

Corporations and Open Source

There is a lot to be said for the advances in open source that many leading companies have been brought by large corporations or sold to shareholders. Red Hat being bought by IBM and SUSE's public offering are good examples of that in the last year. 

Is this a problem though? Well, yes I think it is. Distributions like Fedora and openSUSE were founded by their 'parent' corporations and they are inextricably linked to those parents.

Fedora

Fedora's primary sponser is Red Hat so to paraphrase the view point of IBM Fedora exists to allow a community of thousands of developers to work on a test bed for future Red Hat releases to make them money.

openSUSE

OpenSUSE appears to be in a worse position in that SUSE is the main sponser but there is no foundation. There is an openSUSE board which provides guidance and supports existing governence structure but the chairman is appointed by SUSE.

Ubuntu

I suppose the elephant in the room is Ubuntu. I have been a long time user of Kubuntu, for the last four or five years at least, and have really enjoyed it. It's easy, it works for the most part but unfortunately it is in much of the same position. There is a foundation but if you look at the governance of Ubuntu it says,

Mark Shuttleworth, as self-appointed benevolent dictator for life (SABDFL), plays the happily undemocratic role of sponsor to the project. He has the ability, with regard to Canonical employees, to ask people to work on specific projects, specific feature goals and specific bugs.

He also has a casting vote on the Technical Board and Community Council, should it come to a vote. This capacity is not used lightly.

Canonical is the commercial sponser of the Ubuntu project.

Additionally Ubuntu has made some dubious decisions in my view. Their implementation of the application manager snaps annoyed me at first because they put an unmovable folder in my homefolder, then there was the Chromium debacles where installing Chromium on Ubuntu would automatically install the snap instead, the Canonical control of the snap store and the increasing difficulty to uninstall snap completely...

It is now being reported that Canonical will be trying for an IPO (initial public offering) in 2023.

Look, in no way am I downplaying these communities massive contributions to open source but it does make me nervous that they exist because of corporate entities. I don't trust corporations and I get the feeling that they sometimes look at the contributions of code and solutions given by the community as free labour.

Strengthening that feeling has been conflicts like Amazon and Elastisearch and the concerns raised about the strip mining of open source software, the moving of CentOS into CentOS Stream, Microsofts embracement of Linux (Embrace, extend, extinguish was their old tactic) and a hundred other things.

There are thousands of distros out there but there only two major distribution sources apparently not controlled by corporations, Debian and Arch, and I am used to Debian. So, it looks like I will be using Open Media Vault on the NAS, SolydX on the laptop and SolydK on the desktop.