The strife in the Debian community has had another casualty, Joey Hess.“If I have one regret from my 18 years in Debian, it’s that when the Debian constitution was originally proposed, despite seeing it as dubious, I neglected to speak out against it. It’s clear to me now that it’s a toxic document, that has slowly but surely led Debian in very unhealthy directions.” He’s been there working hard since nearly the beginning but he’s fed up with the bickering/second-guessing/friction involved in the process these days. In messages on the debian-devel list, he describes his frustration with arguing about systemd for nearly two years and now, just weeks before the freeze of Jessie, users are up in arms.
I can see his point, but users are not developers and don’t read debian-devel. I don’t usually. It’s not surprising that users vent the same frustrations about systemd that developers did. There are a lot more users than developers, thousands of times more, and they need to be considered in making radical change to their operating system, something near and dear… Still everyone’s life goes through stages and it may well have been time for Joey Hess to move on for other reasons as well. I expect Debian will survive and it may survive by taking some of Joey Hess’ advice. Probably the worst thing that could happen is more developers leaving, followed closely by some kind of fork and revolution in the splinter group.
Perhaps it’s time that Debian reform it’s social contract/internal procedures to deal with dissent by better means than personal attacks on the lists or departures of key people. Democracy/fairness works but sometimes gets off the rails when conflicting groups try to have their way at the expense of others. It’s not enough just to have a mechanism to break deadlocks. It’s important to respect minorities of users as it is to respect the majority of developers. One only needs to see the USAian government to see how extremism and disrespect can go way overboard. We don’t want Debian to go that way.