Stephan Hermann

What were you doing in Debian before joining Ubuntu ?

I was administrating Debian machines for my former employer (Lycos Europe) and even more in the past I was a Debian User, during the time, when most of the young hot shots are not even thinking about using a computer, because they were still in primary school ;)

Why did you join Ubuntu and what are you doing for Ubuntu ?

Well, it's a long story. Since 1992/1993 I'm playing with Linux now, and honestly I tested and used most of the mainstream Linux distributions. Coming from SuSE Slackware, Red Hat, Debian, Mandrake, Red Hat again (because I was employed by Red Hat), Gentoo, I finally met Oliver Grawert at ISH (2nd largest CableTV Provider in Germany), and he pointed me towards Ubuntu. First, I was not sure, if I should test it or not, because since Gentoo I was a little disappointed of binary distributions. But after I installed it on my company laptop and most of the important things worked out of the box, I finally found my distribution.

I was so happy with Ubuntu, that I said, I will give back something to Ubuntu and finally started packaging software. In my past, I had some experiences with package managers, rpm, deb, you name it, even this funny format of the Cobalt machines (old days of Cube, RAQ1/2) is nothing unknown to me.

I fixed some bugs, transitioned lots and lots of packages for the C++ change during breezy (c2 soname change) and and and.

For Ubuntu now, I'm involved in some teams, mainly MOTU and MOTU-Instant Messaging (MOTUIM) which I found (because I'm running some public free-to-use jabber services on my own). I'm responsible for some special packages in Universe, named Wine and Gajim, and for the Main part of Ubuntu I'm doing all stuff which covers Kubuntu/KDE and especially the Python part of it (sip4/PyQt/PyKDE). Sometimes I'm playing with Amarok or other parts of KDE for KUbuntu.

What are you doing nowadays in Debian ?

Sometimes I'm filing bugs, sending patches towards the debian package maintainer, when I do have the time. I don't file any patches for e.g. SONAME changes, because it's just a finger practice for the package maintainer, and if they read the documents and howtos properly, there is nothing to report. There is indeed for some time a divergence between Ubuntu and Debian, but this is due to a fact, that Ubuntu with less people, is much faster then Debian with hundreds of individual package maintainers. The advantages of teamwork.

Can you explain the change (if any) ?

There is no change. I'm even sending serious patches to other distributions like Gentoo, because most of the time, they have the same issues with their packages. So it's an honour to give back my patches towards other distributions. So, for me, Debian is not all. And for me, it would help, if we can get all Distributions under one roof named Launchpad, to connect all important bugtrackers together.

What do you think of the Debian-Ubuntu collaboration ?

To be honest, I don't have the time, to play with two distributions. So I'm doing my work for Ubuntu. If you are speaking of "having new packages in Ubuntu and not in Debian", well, it should be nice if someone can take over the task and inject those packages into Debian. But don't expect, that our universe contributors are doing this. Frankly, there is a reason why people are packaging software first for Ubuntu and not for Debian, but this is mostly a personal decision. So, in my eyes, the Utnubu team is the right way to do it.

For me personally, I contribute back everything I think it's important. Well, if would be important to file bugs for every SONAME change, I would do it, and spam the Debian BTS. Well, it might be, that I will be more bashed then now ;)

What do you wish for the future ?

What I wish for the future is what I wished for the past. There are many hot shots, who think they are the "rulerz of the packaging world in Debian". Many of them were there when I started to walk around the Debian world, and they never changed. Flamewars on d-d are day-to-day work to read, and finally it is boring to read all those people over and over again, and everytime they are not behaving in a normal social-compatible way.

Rants and flames are sometimes vital, but every day, for every small discussion, I don't think that's the way how it works.

To be honest, because of the last "great flamefest" on d-d, even we in the MOTU team, had a lot of discussions, and that was holding us up from doing our normal work. I think that has to stop.

If those people who are ranting and flaming against Ubuntu, but most of them do not know anything about the structure or the way how we are working, they should just shut up.

Do you want to add something ?

Well, there is nothing to add. Everything is said :) You can always reach me via email or jabber or irc (when I'm online, the \sh_away is changing to \sh :) contact details see above) to discuss further more.