I was idly looking through the press releases and news stories when I came across this article which talks about the new Debian fork called Devuan.
Devuan is a complete fork of the Debian system minus systemd.
I know that there are lots of people who aren’t happy with the inclusion of systemd as part of the next release of Debian but to make such a radical decision to clone the entire thing and start your own project could be deemed overkill.
I can understand a single developer or a handful of developers taking a Debian or Ubuntu base and then creating a new distribution with a specific purpose in mind. I actually think smaller distributions are a good thing because they come up with and implement ideas that might not reach the light of day in one of the base distributions.
Many people are of the opinion however that it is better to pool resources and have just a few distributions where everybody works together to make those distributions as good as they can possibly be.
I am not sure that the Devuan fork is a good thing. In a democracy, we vote for people to make decisions on our behalf and if we don’t like the decisions they make we either vote them out again or we move to another country that is more aligned to our way of thinking. In Linux terms this would mean if we don’t like Debian then we would switch to another distribution.
In the UK at the moment there is a rail project being implemented which aims to reduce journey times between the north and the south, called HS2. It has greatly divided opinions as to whether it is or isn’t a good idea.
People who live in the areas where the new infrastructure is being implemented aren’t particularly happy. Where they used to overlook rolling green fields as far as the eye could see they now have heavy machinery and rail tracks. They are obviously against the idea.
People who live in the north and who regularly visit London will see the rail link as a good idea and will be happy that it is being implemented.
There are of course another group of people. The unaffected. These people don’t care if HS2 is or is not implemented. They can see the argument from both sides but are largely uninterested.
The one thing that nobody is thinking of doing is creating an exact clone of the United Kingdom and moving it slightly to the left.
If a few developers working on their own Linux distribution is seen as counterproductive then what effect does it have when a whole group of developers take a mammoth distribution such as Debian and decide to fork it?
The people who are against systemd may well go over to Devuan but at what cost? Is productivity going to be as good, is it going to move forward as a distribution at the same pace as Debian would have had they stuck with it?
The people who are for systemd now have less people working on the distribution but are partly responsible for the split.
The people that lose out the most are those who don’t care either way about systemd. There are now two projects instead of one with less people working on each.
What do you think about the new Devuan project? Is it a good idea or should the people involved look for a comprimise?