from the more-systemd-fallout dept.
Longtime Debian contributor Tollef Fog Heen has announced his resignation from the Debian systemd maintainer team. His announcement states that "the load of the continued attacks is just becoming too much."
He has since written a detailed blog article surrounding the circumstances of his resignation. As he puts it,
I've been a DD for almost 14 years, I should be able to weather any storm, shouldn't I? It turns out that no, the mountain does get worn down by the rain. It's not a single hurtful comment here and there. There's a constant drum about this all being some sort of conspiracy and there are sometimes flares where people wish people involved in systemd would be run over by a bus or just accusations of incompetence.
This is yet another dramatic event affecting the Debian project in recent months. The adoption of systemd has been extremely controversial, even going so far as to result in calls for Debian to be forked. There have been other problems as of late, too, ranging from a serious bug breaking Wine just days before the Jessie freeze deadline, to the possibility of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD being dropped from Debian 8. And it was only just over a week ago that Joey Hess — another longtime Debian contributor — left the project, citing the "very unhealthy directions" that Debian has been led in lately.
Is the internal tension and strife caused by systemd about to tear the Debian project apart? Recent events such as the aforementioned have suggested that this is becoming more and more of a possibility. The repercussions of this drama will no doubt be felt wide and far, given Debian's own popularity, as well it forming the basis of other major Linux distros such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint.
Controversy is nothing new when it comes to systemd. Many people find this new Linux init system to be inherently flawed in most ways, yet it is still gaining traction with major distros like Arch Linux, openSUSE, Fedora, and soon both Ubuntu and Debian GNU/Linux. The adoption of systemd for Debian 8 "Jessie" has been particularly fraught with strife and animosity.
Some have described the systemd adoption process as having been a "coup", while others are vowing to stick with Debian 7 as long as possible before moving to another distro. Others are so upset by what they see as a complete betrayal of the Debian and open source communities that there is serious discussion about forking Debian. Regardless of one's stance toward systemd, it cannot be argued that it has become one of the most divisive and disruptive changes in the long history of the Debian project, threatening to destroy both the project and the community that has built up around it.
According to an email sent to the Debian debian-devel-announce mailing list by Adam D. Barratt, the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD port is in grave danger of being dropped from the upcoming Debian 8 "Jessie" release. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD runs the GNU userland tools, the GNU C library and the Debian package set on top of the FreeBSD kernel.
We remain gravely concerned about the viability of this port. Despite the reduced scope, we feel that the port is not currently of sufficient quality to feature as a fully supported release architecture in Jessie.
We therefore advise the kFreeBSD porters that the port is in danger of being dropped from Jessie, and invite any porters who are able to commit to working on the port in the long term to make themselves known *now*.
We will assess the viability of kFreeBSD in Jessie on or after 1st November, and a yes/no decision will be taken at that time.
A grave bug has been introduced into the "wine" package of Debian Jessie, just days before the November 5th freeze deadline. The /usr/bin/wine launch script fails with an "error: unable to find wine executable. this shouldn't happen." message.
Debian has already suffered much unrest lately over the inclusion of systemd, with threats of a fork being issued, along with the possible cancellation of the GNU/kFreeBSD port and the possible dropping of support for the SPARC architecture. After so much strife and disruption, can Debian afford to have such a serious bug affect such a critical package so soon before such a major freeze?
Joey Hess has apparently left Debian after 18 years, stating that the Debian Constitution is leading Debian in "very unhealthy directions".
The Debian project has suffered from a long string of negative events recently, ranging from severe discontent over the inclusion of systemd, to talk of forking the project, to a grave bug affecting the important 'wine' package, to the resignation and reduced involvement of long time contributors.
The latest strife affecting Debian revolves around a request for a Debian package of the GPC-Slots 2 software. This request has been rejected with little more than an ad hominem attack against the software's author.
In response to the request, Stephen Gran wrote,
This is code by someone who routinely trolls Debian. I doubt we want any more poisonous upstreams in Debian, so I at least would prefer this never get packaged.
Jonathan Wiltshire proceeded to mark the request as 'wontfix', and closed it.
While Debian does strive to maintain high standards regarding the software it packages, the negative and personal nature of this rejection, without any apparent technical or licensing concerns, appears to conflict with Debian's own Code of Conduct. Such a personal attack could be seen as contradictory to the Code of Conduct's mandate that Debian participants "Be respectful", "Be collaborative", and most importantly, "Assume good faith".
Given its recent troubles as of late, many of them concerning the poor treatment of Debian developers and users alike, can Debian really afford to get embroiled in yet another negative incident?