EMAAD'S BUILDING A DEBIAN PACKAGE Emaad Manzoor's big goal is to get a PhD from a major American university and make an important contribution to Computer Science. He is an undergrad student at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science - Pilani, Goa Campus, India. Before working with us he was a Teaching Assistant, when he finishes with us, he'll be interning at Yahoo. His site is worth a look: http://halfclosed.wordpress.com/ DEBIAN: A MATCH MADE IN INDIANA Ian Murdock chooses to live in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1993, Ian named the Debian/GNU Linux distribution after his then-girlfriend Debra Lynn. The Debian distribution is still going strong: Debra Lynn and Ian are now divorced. Good thing he didn't get a tattoo. A GNU/Linux distribution collects and packages free software applications and an operating system to work together. A package simplifies installing and updating software. Users download and install packages. Developers use the procedures, tools and social norms defined by a GNU/Linux distribution to create and improve packages to work alone and together. The Apple (iPhone) app store launched in 2007, 17 years after Debian. Like Debian, the Apple App store has political standards. App store applications can't compete with an existing Apple product (Google Voice!). Applications accepted in Debian need only be free, and useful. Debian's freedom definition allows*anyone* these software freedoms: *use *study *improvement *redistribution *Anyone* means anyone. Republicans, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the military – anyone who does not restrict the above freedoms for others. WHAT DEBIAN DOES FOR US For political and technical reasons, we want our software included in Debian and Debian derivatives (Ubuntu). Like Debian, we support freedom. We want a Debian package so our software doesn't take 2 hours to install, otherwise no one outside the Boston area will use it. We want people to use our software so that people aren't hungry while food rots in warehouses. EMAAD AND DEBIAN MAKE IT BETTER Package systems eliminate complexity. Comprised of 334 files, our MVHub application won't work without installing 60 other libraries and applications. Most people aren't smart enough to install our software. Sometimes, we're not smart enough to install our software. Emaad works for the less smart people: he's packaging our software to comply with the strict rules for creating a Debian package. Installing MVHub now requires approximately 20 steps and 1-2 hours: Emaad's goal is to shrink complexity to 4 steps and 10 minutes. INSTALLED, BUT STILL USELESS Using the Debian package system is easy: being the sort of person that runs Debian is difficult. Unfortunately, when Emaad is finished, church ladies in Peoria still won't be able to install and configure our software. We have more work before new friends can create PeoriaPort.org with the MVHub software and connect homeless people to an Illinois shelter. MVHub.com and NorthShoreport.org are useful only in the Boston area. As no ‘add directory’ or ‘change service area’ commands exist, users can’t adapt the directory to their own needs. Currently, only programmers can create OrangeCounty.com. Emaad's target users are volunteer developers, not Peoria church ladies. If somebody can give 2 hours work to our project, and it takes 2 hours to install our software, there is no gain for anyone. BETTER AND EASY ARE NOT THE SAME The prophet Joel proclaims rewriting software is better than throwing it away and starting from scratch. http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html Better and easy aren't the same thing. For example, it usually takes less than 5 minutes to push new code into production on the live MVHub.com and NorthShoreport.org sites. Unfortunately, the production-pushing scripts depend on libraries that are not, by default, included with a Debian system. For more geeky details see: https://lists.launchpad.net/mvhub-dev/msg00562.html Before Emaad started, using our setup scripts on a fresh system required extensive manual labor. Now, the prerequisites are installed almost automatically. For details see: FINAL GOSSIP If you have a picture of Debra Lynn (ex Murdock), please send it to us. We have spent too much time on this task to give up now.