>Ubuntu is a Debian *fork*.
More true in theory than in practice. There was a lot more noise
about the fear that Ubuntu would be a fork back in 2005 when Debian
users were getting tired of waiting for Sarge and Ubuntu started to
appear on the horizon.
If you cannot install a Debian package in Ubuntu, or vice versa, without
running substantial risk of breaking the system, it sounds like a fork to
But the truth is, at least, more nuanced. And even guys like Ian
Murdoch pointed that out at the time:
And for a view from the Ubuntu "camp" at that time:
Ubuntu takes packages from sid, stabilizes them before debian, but
feeds whatever changes they make back to the sid stream.
In Ubuntu releases, there's a lot more changed. A simple look at some of
the software dependencies enforced by APT in Ubuntu, as contrasted with
those in vanilla Debian, will make that clear.
So it provides a stream of debian derived releases but instead of
using the traditional Debian model of "we'll ship the next stable
version when it's ready," Ubuntu has a time-box ship model. Ubuntu
makes the final decision on what's going to actually make the next
release based on which packages have achieved stability in time to
make it, instead of waiting until all of the packages which were
picked at the time the release was started get there. One way of
looking at this is that Debian has a more waterfall release cycle
while Ubuntu is managed using more of the agile project management
approach. Back when Ubuntu "Badger" was in the throes of being
released, Debian Woody was several years old, and Sarge looked to be
slipping almost faster than the release date was approaching,
something which Murdock alludes to in the post I quoted.
I really don't think the waterfall vs. agile analogy holds even slightly
true. Both Ubuntu and Debian strive to produce "complete" distribution
releases with each release cycle. Debian maintains a constant state of
operational functionality during development of the finished release
(thus the "testing" branch), and Ubuntu (from what I've seen) provides a
more "there's nothing to see until it's done" state of development until
it approaches release-worthiness. Neither of these sounds anything like
either Waterfall or Agile development to me. In Waterfall development,
nothing's functional until you're done, and you're not done until you've
achieved some overarching plan. In Agile development, you have
functional milestones, but you're not really done until you've achieved
some overarching plan (though, of course, the plan changes while being
The tension is/was? between the needs of server administrators who
favor a stable platform with security maintainence, and developers who
want more recent versions of the upstream code. Back then Ubuntu was
better for the latter. Then they introduced 'long term support'
releases which are specific Ubuntu releases which will have committed
support for five years (or there abouts). This helps the server
users, since the downside of Debian's support policy is that they only
provided maintenance for an older stable release for a limited time
after a new stable release becomes available. The net is that Ubuntu
provides both newer code in the latest release for those who want it,
and more predictable support of older releases for those who need
It's pretty clear that the unfortunate comparison of Debian to Waterfall
development was no accident. You have a definite Ubuntu bias.
>It has less in common with Debian itself than
>PC-BSD and DesktopBSD have in common with FreeBSD, and may even have less
>in common with Debian than Dragonfly BSD has with FreeBSD.
I don't know enough about those distributions to make the comparison,
but from my experience, Ubuntu doesn't feel like a fork. Even if
Debian doesn't take ALL of ubuntu's packages as time goes on, I
predict that the bulk of the code will remain compatible.
Code: yes. Packaging: no. Since Linux distributions are defined by
their software management systems and installers more than by the source
code inside the various pieces of software, that pretty much makes Ubuntu
a fork (though a still-recent one that attempts to derive some benefit
from similarities between the two distributions).
That all said, while I'm a happy Ubuntu user, I don't use packaged
versions of some specific software, most notably Ruby. This isn't
because of Ubuntu but because of Debian. In the case of Ruby one
major reason is because, as far as I know unless it's changed
recently, Debian (and therefore Ubuntu) doesn't really support gems.
Now this may have changed recently, but I've been happy installing
Ruby and Gems from source, and gems as gems.
Whether or not Ubuntu supports gems is not dependent upon whether or not
Debian does so. It's dependent upon Ubuntu management decisions. The
Ruby packages have already diverged nontrivially from those in Debian
(though obviously not as much so as certain other packages).
On Tue, Jun 12, 2007 at 03:18:45AM +0900, Rick DeNatale wrote:
On 6/11/07, Chad Perrin <email@example.com> wrote:
CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
W. Somerset Maugham: "The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for