internetnews.com, Sarge vs. The Hoary Hedgehog?: “Ian Murdoch [sic], Debian’s founding father, does not believe Ubuntu’s popularity bodes well for Debian-based distros. ‘If anything, Ubuntu’s popularity is a net negative for Debian,’ Murdoch told internetnews.com. ‘It’s diverged so far from Sarge that packages built for Ubuntu often don’t work on Sarge. And given the momentum behind Ubuntu, more and more packages are being built like this. The result is a potential compatibility nightmare.’”
Mark, this doesn’t end well. If you want a glimpse of what will happen, take a look at the RPM world, where software developers and ISVs have to build a different RPM for every RPM-based distro (either that, or the ISVs have to choose the one or two most popular RPM-based distros to the exclusion of all others–or perhaps that’s what you have in mind?).
Here’s a suggestion on how we can avert the crisis before it becomes one: Provide a Debian compatibility runtime and development environment for Ubuntu, and make the development environment the default environment. That way, when developers build packages on Ubuntu, they can be installed as-is on Debian as well. Provide a Ubuntu-specific development environment too, so developers can take advantage of Ubuntu-specific features that aren’t in Debian yet, but only use those features when you absolutely must. Everyone wins.