The CCHPCF had a visit from Sun today (we have a stupifyingly big fuck-off F15K with 900 CPUs, so Sun are nice to us), with lots of juicy information about all sorts of exciting things. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to tell you about any of them. I can tell you about the free wine, though. It was very nice.
Murray wonders why Debian's so poor at being seen to do stuff. He's not alone, of course. The problem is fairly simple:
We don't talk to each other enough.
It may not be clear to the outsider, but Debian is effectively built up of several groups of people working quite separately. The ftp-masters are a group that deals with the day to day business of accepting new packages into the archive. The security team spend their time dealing with new security announcements, backporting fixes and getting these built and pushed out to users. The buildd maintainers look after the network of machines that build packages for all the supported architectures. Various other groups of people do important tasks. And all of these groups sit in the general sea of developers.
Everyone has one goal - to see Debian released.
Of course, everyone blames a different set of people for it not having happened.
A release can't happen until all of these groups (and yes, that includes the developers in general) believe that a release can happen. But since there's always another group that is plainly holding everything up, there's not all that much incentive to make sure that your group is in a fit state to release. This has predictable consequences.
Once upon a time, this was less of a problem. We had far fewer people involved in the project, and it was practical for everyone to talk to each other and let everyone know what they were up to. This doesn't scale desperately well - Debian now has around a thousand developers, which is getting beyond the point where you can even vaguely recognise the names of all of them. The fact that Debian achieves anything is probably due to the fact that there's some overlap between some of these groups (the fact that it's this overlap that seems to come in for the largest degree of criticism is interesting, and probably significant).
Enhanced communication between everyone involved would probably make life massively better. We just need to work out how to do that.
While I'm at it, though:
Matthew's big list of myths about why Debian hasn't released
If Debian is going to continue to be relevant, we need users. If we're more concerned about casting blame, we won't have any. So go on. Get out there and fix some bugs. Show the world that it's possible for a group of a thousand volunteers to produce a world-class OS. Just stop spending so much time claiming that the release will never happen and it's all someone else's fault.