Crazy idea: shipit.debian.org

Over the last few days, I have had to perform a number of clean installations, some using Debian, some using Ubuntu. Whenever handing over freshly OEM'ed hardware, I like to include a copy of the CD media to the customer, as a courtesy.

This works extremely well for Ubuntu, from whom it is possible to order official release CD. Customers always get a nice buzz out of that.

For Debian, though, I always get embarrassed looks over the home-burnt CD, because it projects a lack of professionalism. Enterprise customers want a commercially pressed CD and they want it to be the official one published by Debian; explaining to them that Debian doesn't publish pressed CD media produces an instant lack of trust in Debian. What can I say? It's their perception and, as the old saying goes, the customer is always right.

This got me thinking, why doesn't Debian have its own ShipIt like Ubuntu? Granted, Debian is a non-profit organization, but surely that would not prevent selling official CD media to help cover at least some of its operational expenses, now, would it?

One way to implement this would be to hire the exact same CD pressing plant that Canonical employs to handle their CD ordering and shipping logistics. They already have the procedure and tools in place to handle this; they just need to add a branded version of that ordering site for Debian's needs and to receive official ISO files from Debian's Release Manager every year or so. How about it?


Unknown said...

Debian is not a corporation. It has no "customers". This is something an outside corporation could provide if it really were a lucrative market. I doubt the demand for it is very high, though, as commercially pressed CDs provide absolutely no extra value over the home-burned version. Provide MD5s, show that the CD is exactly the same as the one on the website, and if they still are untrusting, be sure to point out their idiocy.

Philippe Cloutier said...

I think Debian would need official CD labels before doing that.

Comment Planet said...

Contrary to the statment of commenter "selyf" Debian is most assuredly a corporation, based in the United States, in the State of New York.

Debian most definitely has customers: all of the users of Debian and all of the distributions that rely upon Debian, including...ah...Ubuntu. The idea of producing standard CDs is a mere additional service to the customers Debian already has. Whether the market is lucurative, high volume or not, this is a valuable idea for a useful service that can grow serve an important fuction, as described in the original post. If one company wanted 100 CDs or DVDs, that is well on the way toward making the service sustainable.

This is a great idea, and since it would be produced by a third party, would require little effort from the present Debian leadership. Worth trying, and a potential model for future efforts.

Elver said...


How does that fit into this?

Unknown said...

why do we have to copy everything that Ubuntu does?

Martin-Éric said...

Elver, those are independent vendors. They are not the same as "getting the real thing from the distro itself". Of course, the difference is mostly psychological, but it exists.

To compare with Ubuntu, while you can download or buy Ubuntu CDs that are targeted for specific countries and sold by LUGs everywhere, most people prefer pressed CDs sent by Canonical.