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iTWire: A Conversation with Anthony Towns

Sep 20, 2006, 18:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Varghese)

[ Thanks to Sam Varghese for this link. ]

"When the Debian GNU/Linux project made its second release in January 1994--version number 0.91--there were a few dozen people involved. The project was five months old and the release itself had no name. The last release, in June 2005, version 3.1 codenamed Sarge, contained around 15,400 binary packages and 14 binary CDs in the official set. There were more than 1000 developers involved.

"One would think that, with this number of people involved, a huge management structure would be needed, with memos flying hither and thither, with meetings occupying most of the day and with politics ruling over process. The reality is that there is a structure, there are teams, there are leaders but the conversation flows between equals, not superiors and hirelings. There is politics as there would be when more than one human is in a place for any length of time. But in toto, this is the one of the best examples of a volunteer project producing high-quality software. It is also the best example of a democratic project..."

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