On Jun 11, 2007, at 1:18 PM, Rick DeNatale wrote:

> On 6/11/07, Chad Perrin <perrin / apotheon.com> wrote:
>
>> Ubuntu is a Debian *fork*.
>
> More true in theory than in practice.  There was a lot more noise
> about the fear that Ubuntu would be a fork back in 2005 when Debian
> users were getting tired of waiting for Sarge and Ubuntu started to
> appear on the horizon.
>
> But the truth is, at least, more nuanced. And even guys like Ian
> Murdoch pointed that out at the time:
>
> http://ianmurdock.com/?p=167
>
> And for a view from the Ubuntu "camp" at that time:
> http://mako.cc/writing/to_fork_or_not_to_fork.html
>
> Ubuntu takes packages from sid, stabilizes them before debian, but
> feeds whatever changes they make back to the sid stream.
>
> So it provides a stream of debian derived releases but instead of
> using the traditional Debian model of "we'll ship the next stable
> version when it's ready," Ubuntu has a time-box ship model.  Ubuntu
> makes the final decision on what's going to actually make the next
> release based on which packages have achieved stability in time to
> make it, instead of waiting until all of the packages which were
> picked at the time the release was started get there. One way of
> looking at this is that Debian has a more waterfall release cycle
> while Ubuntu is managed using more of the agile project management
> approach.  Back when Ubuntu "Badger" was in the throes of being
> released, Debian Woody was several years old, and Sarge looked to be
> slipping almost faster than the release date was approaching,
> something which Murdock alludes to in the post I quoted.
>
> The tension is/was? between the needs of server administrators who
> favor a stable platform with security maintainence, and developers who
> want more recent versions of the upstream code.  Back then Ubuntu was
> better for the latter.  Then they introduced 'long term support'
> releases which are specific Ubuntu releases which will have committed
> support for five years (or there abouts).  This helps the server
> users, since the downside of Debian's support policy is that they only
> provided maintenance for an older stable release for a limited time
> after a new stable release becomes available.  The net is that Ubuntu
> provides both newer code in the latest release for those who want it,
> and more predictable support of older releases for those who need
> stability.
>
>> It has less in common with Debian itself than
>> PC-BSD and DesktopBSD have in common with FreeBSD, and may even  
>> have less
>> in common with Debian than Dragonfly BSD has with FreeBSD.
>
> I don't know enough about those distributions to make the comparison,
> but from my experience, Ubuntu doesn't feel like a fork.  Even if
> Debian doesn't take ALL of ubuntu's packages as time goes on, I
> predict that the bulk of the code will remain compatible.
>
> That all said, while I'm a happy Ubuntu user, I don't use packaged
> versions of some specific software, most notably Ruby. This isn't
> because of Ubuntu but because of Debian.  In the case of Ruby one
> major reason is because, as far as I know unless it's changed
> recently, Debian (and therefore Ubuntu) doesn't really support gems.
> Now this may have changed recently, but I've been happy installing
> Ruby and Gems from source, and gems as gems.
>
> -- 
> Rick DeNatale
>
> My blog on Ruby
> http://talklikeaduck.denhaven2.com/
>
Uh, Debian does run gem and gems just fine.
Shared hosting provider DreamHost is proof of that.
Their servers are Debian, and they do have gems. I've installed my  
own local gems on an account there.