Where the Heck Is Etch?

Opinion: Nearly three months after its planned release date, there are still 541 "release critical" bugs listed for the next version of Debian.

Last September, some of the Debian Linux distributions leadership wanted to make sure that Etch, the next version of Debian, arrived on its Dec. 4 due date. So, the "Dunc-Tank" group decided to experiment with financially supporting some key developers to get Debian out the door on time.

Whoops.

Debian has a reputation for being almost as late as Duke Nukem Forever, the perpetually never-arriving PC first-person shooter game. Not all developers were pleased at this experiment in speeding up Debian development.

In fact, some of developers, according to Andreas Barth, a Debian developer and Etch release manager, felt that the Etch release was getting delayed because "some people who used to do good work reduced their involvement drastically."

Since then, Barth clarified that what he really meant was that Dunc-Tank had resulted in both "positive and negative effects." And, he continued, "Im quite happy with the involvement of most developers in the release."

That said, the Debian Etch code was frozen on Dec. 11, a week after the final operating system was to be released. By operating system release schedule standards thats only a teeny bit off.

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