When I joined the Ichthux development team, they had produced their “proof of concept” release as yet-another-Knoppix-remaster. At that time, I encouraged them to move away from tacking their work on as a derivate of a derivative and instead become a CDD. I argued that as a CDD Ichthux would last, while as a Knoppix-remaster, it would just be another marginal custom livecd that went nowhere. They got the message. So you may well be surprised to hear our first release is based on Kubuntu, and not Debian.
So, what’s the story here? Have you defected?
Nope. It just happens that most of the team ended up being actively involved in Ubuntu development. Also, when we first started casting about for the best way to package a livecd/install disk, it seemed to us that Ubuntu already had a head start on this.
What about being a CDD? It looks to me like that idea has fallen by the wayside.
Nope again. We’re a joint team now, and though we’ve started out with Ubuntu, we’ll be pushing changes back into Debian. The goals of a CDD are well understood by the whole team: to best meet the needs of our users, we design the system to mesh well with the parent distributions, not forking and making a derivative, but working inside those distributions to improve them for our particular subgroup of users.
Hold on now, aren’t you contradicting yourself? A CDD’s development is all within Debian, but Ubuntu itself is a derivative, and what’s worse, Kubuntu is a derivative of a derivative! Aren’t you right back where you started?
Well, on the last count, you’d be wrong. Kubuntu is not a fork. And as for Ubuntu being a derivative, well, sure it is. But the Ubuntu/Debian relationship is different from other derivatives, and although there is friction, I’m enough of a crazy idealist to believe a joint Debian/Ubuntu CDD is quite doable, benefits both projects more, and serves our users better than if we were to split up and each go work on our own.