This article aims at solving some common mistunderstandings about Ubuntu found amongst Debian developers and users.
Why should I care about Ubuntu ?
- Ubuntu is Debian-based and advertises this fact.
- Ubuntu wants to contribute back to Debian (even if it's not done perfectly currently - see below)
- Ubuntu has a large userbase, is a quality GNU/Linux distribution, enabling new users to come tu GNU/Linux.
- Ubuntu has a big community of developers and advocates. Debian can benefit from it.
- Ubuntu brought much to the Free Software world, in areas where Debian hasn't totally succeeded yet (like desktop system for end users, or hardware support)
- A lot of Debian developers and users also use Ubuntu, often on their laptops.
What is Universe ? And MOTU ?
Debian has 3 sections : main, contrib, and non-free. Ubuntu, on the other hand, has four of them : main, restricted, universe and multiverse. While main packages (and their non-free counterparts restricted packages) are maintained and fully supported by the Ubuntu team, Universe is a section of the Ubuntu archive which isn't officially supported. Universe aims at providing as many packages as possible, from difference sources (Debian, of course, but also [http://www.apt-get.org/ apt-get.org] or [http://revu.tauware.de/ REVU]).
The MOTUs (Master of the Universe) are a bunch of volunteers taking care of Universe : they merge and sync packages in Ubuntu from Debian or other sources, fix bugs, etc.
What kind of divergence is introduced inside Ubuntu ? Why does Ubuntu need to change my packages ?
- Ubuntu sometimes needs to modify packages so that they will build and work on an Ubuntu system. This is usually due to a library transition that Ubuntu has undergone first, change of the default Python version (Ubuntu uses Python 2.4 by default), dependancies changed because of a different X.org packaging, etc. In other cases, it is because an Ubuntu user has found a bug (in either the program or the packaging) before someone filed one in the Debian BTS. These changes are usually small and unobtrusive, but there are of course exceptions.
Ubuntu's way of ''contributing to Debian'' really sucks.