(Only by happenstance is the title seemingly connected to this entry.)
I know that earlier Luca Foppiano pointed out this story posted on Mark Shuttleworth’s blog. I’m glad to see that Mark is taking seriously the need for any serious Linux distribution — and certainly any that has one eye on the enterprise market — to dedicate their work to upstream communities. I seem to remember saying something to that effect a while back too. ?
Without a rational upstream policy, distributions relegate developers to an ever-increasing time suck of patches, backports, and bugs that distract from being able to make solid improvements. The only rational upstream policy I can imagine working — without an infinite supply of internal, dedicated developers — is to coordinate bugs with upstream. Fixes then flow out to the entire community, which means that one distribution might have less of an upper hand in things “just working,” but the overall consumer experience gets better, which means the overall market for FOSS has better growth potential.
I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to extrapolate this to the way a distribution behaves with regard to localization/translation, documentation, toolsets… Which is why I’m always very proud to trumpet the way that Fedora does business, with 100% free and open source tools. We’re able to contribute improvements to the upstream providers of any of these areas, and make things better for the entire FOSS community. And those improvements themselves likewise benefit from all the customary advantages that an open process provides.