Powers and repositories – Ubuntu and Debian

Lars Risan lars.risan at tik.uio.no
Fri Jan 26 13:36:09 GMT 2007

Dear all,
I am an anthropologist who study the organisation of Free Software work.
I am concerned with how people and systems manage to coordinate their
efforts in this work, and thus about the power of the institutions,
systems and cultures that bring about such coordination. In order to
study power it can be a Good Thing to focus on conflicts, tensions or
(tempered) differences, because it makes power – or the quest for power
– visible. Thus I am trying to make sense of the difference, sometimes
quite tempered, between (some of) the Ubuntu-people and (some of) the
	In the process of writing a paper on the case, and I am now posting an
early version of it to the lists Debian-devel and Ubuntu-translators. I
hope for reactions and comments that may improve it. The current version
only contains a one page anthropological introduction, to set the scene,
and then goes on to tell a story, that is the story – one of the stories
– of how Ubuntu has intervened in the life of Debian.
	I do also publish this to you in the hope that it might be constructive
to both Debian and Ubuntu. I share a personal admiration of both Debian
and Ubuntu. Debian both for its principles and its good technology, and
Ubuntu for having allowed “wannabe geeks” like myself to enjoy the
technology of Debian in a free, open and accessible way. Ubuntu made it
possible for me to turn from a SuSE (9.*) that became much too heavy and
slow, with applications like its graphical package manager, YAST, to a
fast and easy version of Debian. (Moving from the rpm-based YAST to
apt-get is an interesting end-user experience: The functionality of
apt-get and dpkg is so superior to that of YAST that I find the former
more “user friendly” than the latter, even if apt-get is command-line
based, yes, I think partly also because it is command line driven.)
	With this recognition of both Debian and Ubuntu, I present to you this
early version of the paper.

The paper is available from this link:

best wishes,
Lars Risan

Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture
University of Oslo,
P.O.box 1108 Blindern, N-0349 Oslo, Norway
Phone  office: + (47) 22 84 16 07
private: + (47) 22 15 00 94
cell phone: + (47) 924 40 986
Web: http://folk.uio.no/lrisan/

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