Tugger the SLUGger!SLUG Mailing List Archives

[SLUG] debian vs FC threads (was: presidents report)

James Purser wrote:

While there is a large population of Debian/Ubuntu users it hasn't to my
mind precluded fans of other distros availing themselves of either the
mailing lists or irc channels when seeking help/assistance. In fact one
of the most recent(and active) threads is seeking help in installing
VMWare on Fedora Core 5. On the irc channel there are gentoo users,
debian users, fedora users and more.

Yes, but on the majority of the threads that commence with "I would like
help doing X on Y (non-debian) distribution", the comments that follow
mostly include things like "you should switch to Debian".

That's not a particularly helpful comment when you have already decided
to / must use distribution Y.  Personally, I refrain from telling Debian
users that they should switch to Red Hat (except where absolutely required,
e.g. to get multi-path fibre SCSI working through a SAN backend, but that's
not a common situation outside of the largest data centers), so I don't
see why the Debian users continually feel the need to tell users of other
distros that they have to switch to Debian, without analysing the problem
as presented.

My experience pretty much parallels that of Philip:  If you're not a
Debian user then there are certain elements in SLUG that aren't really
interested in talking to you, except to convert you to Debian.  If that
attitude were to change then I'd probably participate somewhat more in
SLUG, but I haven't seen it change for a number of years now despite the
best efforts of many of the people on the SLUG committee.

It's not a problem with SLUG specifically -- I've noted that attitude
from many Debian users outside of the SLUG community.

In fact I think that it's time that a general vote was taken that Debian
evangelists should just keep their evangelising outside of Fedora / Red
Hat specific threads, and we'd all get along much better.

As well there's these perceptions of too much influence by few individuals
that alienates many would be members,  newbies and professionals alike.

Which individuals? There is - as with any group - a core group of the
most active community members, as can be seen on the mailing list/irc
channel. However the environment I have seen and participated in has
been one of come in and join the fun, just leave your flames at the
door. There are a couple of people who seem more inclined to argue than
others, however you get that with any group and it is a good indication
of a communities viability in how they deal with such people.

OK, since you want names, and dates:

* Martin Visser (responding to a how-to-get-VMware-working on FC5
  thread by suggesting a switch to Ubuntu).  3/4/2006.  That's probably
  stretching things a little, Martin's email was polite and informative,
  but the original questioner stated that they needed to do it on
  FC5, so the post was at least off-topic -- at least change the subject
  line please guys.

* Craig Sanders (responding to a post about time zone files on FC4
  with the comment "reformat and install debian.").  26/3/2006.
  Come on guys, is that the best you can do?  You suggest a solution
  to a 1 hour timezone file problem that involves reformatting and

* Craige McWhirter (responding to a post about RHCE exams by saying
  "or even better, do the LPI[1] exams".  So what if the original poster's
  employer is a Red Hat shop and requires him/her to have an RHCE
  certification as part of his job skills / training?  You're suggesting
  that he throw his job in to do a different, non-Red Hat certification?
  Now this is unusual for Craige, he's normally a very helpful, informative,
  and polite poster, but think before you press that send button please.

  (Yes, there are several large employers in Sydney that have a lot of
  RH boxes, and require their employees to have or obtain RHCEs. Some
  of them are quite good places to work, so I hear.)

* Dean Hamstead (responding to a post about Red Hat consultants:
  "a really savy consultant would recommend a move to debian").  25/1/2006
  Sorry, this is just flame bait and I don't see any reason not to target
  it as deliberate flame bait.  Why?  What if the system required drivers
  or features that are only available in Red Hat?

Well, that's 4 in the last 2 months.  Do I need to go back through the
archives any further?  Let's not bring up the consistent RH/Debian flame
wars of the past please.

Remember that it only takes a few rude / inconsiderate / ill-informed
posters on any particular subject to spoil the reputation of an otherwise
helpful and informative group.  I'm not suggesting any form of list
censorship here -- merely backing up what the original posters have
said.  The people mentioned above, not to mention those few others that
have posted on the same lines may like to consider that it's actually the
reputation of the Debian community that they are harming here, as well
as the reputation of SLUG.

Now I don't think that anyone's suggesting that the normal run of the
mill distro-comparison discussions are anything other than helpful.
However if someone's asking a question about getting something done on
Red Hat or Fedora then perhaps either start another subject on how
to do it on Debian, or refrain from replying altogether.  Otherwise
you're (a) driving people away from the community and (b) driving them
away from SLUG.

I don't have time to check my SLUG mail on an hourly basis, so it's
often the case that when someone asks "how do I do X on Red Hat" there
are several replies that say "you do it by switching to Debian", so
there is no point me replying with an actually useful, Red Hat specific
answer.  So in addition to harming the reputation of the community
you are actually stopping people finding out the information they are
after, and let's face it there is no Linux distribution where the
documentation is *perfect*.

I'd also like to add that in comparison, the Ubuntu folks have been
generally more pragmatic (minor exception noted above).  While I
disagree with Jeff Waugh's statements about Ubuntu's market perception
vs that of Red Hat, he does at least take the entire conversation
aside into a separate Ubuntu thread, and recognises the position of
Red Hat in the market place and addresses that directly.  Some of
the other folks could follow the lead there.