[LAU] Join the Debian Multimedia Team! (to improve the state of Linux audio)

James Cameron quozl at us.netrek.org
Mon Mar 9 22:34:13 EDT 2009

On Mon, Mar 09, 2009 at 09:23:59AM -0700, Mark Knecht wrote:
> How does that effect me for instance as a Gentoo user?

I'll try to answer that question for you.  I'm a user of various
distributions, and an upstream developer of various small packages, none
of them audio or music production related (netrek, pptp, pptpd).  I'm
not a distribution packager.

Some terms; upstream is the original author or the current maintainer of
software, and usually releases in .tar.gz or similar format.  Packager
is someone who describes how to build that .tar.gz for a distribution.

When a problem is raised with a software package, sometimes it is caused
by the upstream code, and sometimes it is caused by the packaging.  When
it is caused by the packaging, sometimes it is caused by the packager,
sometimes by other packagers, and sometimes by distribution policies.

So of all the possible problems someone may have with software, many of
the problems are of general scope that anyone will have regardless of
their preferred Linux distribution.  Of those that remain, some will
have general scope for all other related Linux distributions, or all
other Linux distributions.

The spread of problems varies, but as the number of interpackage
dependencies rises, the spread increases.

Upstream developers looking for things to do will often cruise through
the problems reported by the various distributions.  We look at the
problems, and if we think the upstream source is imperfect, we can do
something about it.  I do that for Debian and Ubuntu packaging of pptp
and pptpd.  Someone else does it for the Fedora packaging.

Distribution packagers looking for things to do will usually focus on
their distribution's bug list for the package, but when they find
something that not specific to the distribution, they go looking to see
what other packagers in other distributions may have done to resolve the

So Gentoo packagers and users can often be helped by understanding how
Debian or Fedora packagers and users solve their problems.  The
differences between the packaging styles are not insurmountable.

> I don't mind the occasional distro specific conversation. I wouldn't
> want to see that ever become more than 1% of what's discussed on a
> list like this.

I think the percentage will depend on the proportion of users we get.  I
don't see many people talking about some of the very rare distributions.
I don't think there's any way to control it, and I don't think it has
much to do with some distribution team offering to focus their attention
on your problems.

If you find your distribution or lack of distribution is not
sufficiently discussed, then please feel free to post some more.  ;-)

James Cameron    mailto:quozl at us.netrek.org     http://quozl.netrek.org/

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