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Bruce Perens: HP selects Debian as its "design center"

May 10, 2001, 16:17 (25 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Perens)
From:    Bruce Perens <bruce@perens.com>
Subject: HP selects Debian as its "design center"
Date:   10 May 2001 00:12:41 -0700
Hi Folks,

HP has started talking publicly about this, so I'd better fill you in.

HP has announced that Debian is their "design center". In other words, Debian is the selected development platform for Linux work at HP. The target of HP's development is all LSB-compliant distributions, including Debian, Red Hat, Turbo, etc. But because of its status as the development platform, Debian works out to be "first among equals".

HP has already started vending Debian to customers, and will be offering Debian support and training. This does _not_ mean that HP will de-support other Linux distributions. HP certifies its hardware with several distributions. In our software production process, we will handle differences between Linux package formats and the package dependency tree. As LSB continues to develop, we hope to get out of certifying for individual distributions and producing variant packages. Thus, supporting LSB is now a priority for HP.

HP folks are giving various reasons for this decision, which I will attempt to reproduce below.

Why Debian for HP's development? It's the best way to get software out to all of the distributions, because Debian's process is so fair and so visible. As a non-profit, Debian is more of a partner than a competitor with other distributions. HP's own engineers can sign up as Debian developers and be granted the same privileges as anyone else. New work is available for all of the other Linux distributions to copy as soon as it's uploaded to Debian's servers. Of course, we'll continue to host projects through SourceForge, Collab.net, or our own portals. Working with Debian adds capabilities to what the web portals provide.

HP appreciates that when HP wanted to make a Linux distribution for the PA-RISC, Debian treated it as a free software collaboration rather than a business relationship, and got the distribution done in collaboration with our developers. That's the way GNU/Linux development should happen.

Why Debian from a business standpoint? The Debian Free Software Guidelines are one critical component there. For Debian, the Official version _is_ the GNU version. Thus, HP and its customers can redistribute Debian without hassles. Another important factor is that Debian accepts new packages well, and thus we'll be able to get Debian support for the things that are important to us.

Of course, HP already provides some services to help Debian out, and has some Debian developers on salary. This will only increase.

Hopefully, this announcement will make your day. It sure made mine. I had to stay out of this decision, because I am obviously prejudiced. HP management went ahead and did the right thing without me.