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Re: status of debian-consultants mailing list

> > On Thu, Jul 10, 2003 at 08:35:48AM +0800, Stephen Hardman wrote:
> > > I think this list is vital to the existance of Debian.
> > 
> > *boggle*
> > 

umm... whatever.  let's lose the unnecessary *emphasis* and stay polite.
clearly there are at least a handful of people here that believe that
this list does, or conceivable can, perform a useful function.

> > > It demonstrates that there is a component of Debian professionals willing
> > > to discuss consulting on a professional level, even if we have no comment
> > > at present.
> > 
> > No, not really. It demonstrates that someone in the ancient past thought
> > that a mailing list described as "Communication among and about Debian
> > consultants." would be useful enough to exist, and created it. Nothing more,
> > nothing less.

and some of us still believe that "Communication among and about Debian
consultants" is useful enough to exist.  if anyone would like to
suggest an alternative method for generating revenue using GNU based
software other than consulting i'd desperately love to hear about it
(and, incidentally, I'm guessing that this list would be the place to
discuss it).

> > In fact, I speculate it's less than that, because due to the way the list
> > was configured I believe it was once used by the consultants web page
> > maintainers to auto-subscribe people who sent them information about their
> > consulting business. This was later abolished.

so reconfigure it.  oh, wait, you already did.  so i'll assume that the
problem is not that the list is no longer being used as originally
configured, but that there is some new and hopefully more interesting
problem justifying removal.  please explain.

> Whatever it was created as, the current image is more important, which is
> also part of being a Debian consultant.
> > > If it disappears, the image of Debian becomes less commercially viable.
> > 
> > Strawman. Besides, there's still a debian-commercial list if you're so
> > worried about image.
> I don't see the lists as being entirely compatible.

granted, the image thing is pretty much a stawman argument.  but
seriously, at the very least you're pulling a veteran lurker into this
discussion in my case, for the second time.  i really wish i'd followed
up on my earlier posts, but frankly, i've been too busy billing clients
for DEBIAN CONSULTING to take the time.

and debian-consultants and debian-commercial aren't compatible at all.
when i've got a non-free deb pkg i want to sell you, you'll hear about
it on debian-commercial, but when i want to coordinate with other
developers familiar with my environment, you'll hear about it here.

but ok, so let's take this one step further...  this isn't the right 
venue.  i certainly think that a mailing list is woefully inadequate
for what i want debian-consultants to be.  we need a services market,
and that calls for a serious infrastructure, and if we do it right,
that can make Debian a serious player.  does anyone want to see Redhat
become the defacto standard for the next ten years?  i know it'd be a
pain in my ass.  commercial viability is vital if we want the attention
of IBM and Oracle, and i think we do, and for debian that viability
needs to come from the consultant community, and it needs to grow into
a broader support infrastructure.

what i want as a debian-consultant is to have an easy time explaining
to paying clients why debian is a good idea.  better yet, i want them
asking me about debian.  i want to call up rackspace.com and have them
say they absolutely support debian.  that's not going to happen until
professional debain support services are easy to find and contract,
easier than competing distributions.  so if this list serves no other
purpose, let's leave it here for the purpose of making itself obsolete.
let's leave it here in the hopes that we'll finally get organized and
come up with something better than a mailing list.

and for those of you in the "why don't you do it yourself" crowd, i am
working on it.  you'll see it announced here if the list still exists
when i've got an alpha.  if not, i guess you'll see it anounced on
freshmeat, maybe as an rpm.

> > > To continue pushing for its removal is sort of like trying to
> > > persuade everyone that professional consulting for Debian is being
> > > discontinued.
> > 
> > That's so non sequitur it's not even funny...
> The point is, that I believe the image to Debian is important.  It's more
> likely to make more negative news by disappearing than by remaining.
> I'm working with Debian all the time, and am constantly being faced by
> people trying to discount open source as bein non-viable, the removal
> of a support list for Consultants is just another aspect of that, in my
> opinion.

right.  ok, once again, dropping debian-consultants isn't going to be a
major news item indicating the death of debian as a serious platform,
but also it wouldn't exactly be a step forward.  to bring it back down
to the level of what we're really discussing, this is about killing a
communications channel for a group of people.  some people apparently
think it sucks enough to kill outright.  some are desperately in love
with it.  more reasonable voices think you should minimally give some of
us a little time to organize the worthwhile participants into a body and
move them to another venue.  could take a while.  maybe a months to
really get a community moving.  we'd appreciate your support.

> > > It was pretty clear to me that the people were quite willing and
> > > able to participate further after the last time someone tried to ask
> > > for its removal.  The feedback appeared to be overwhelmingly positive
> > > to keep the list running.
> > 
> > No, I didn't get the impression it was overwhelmingly positive. I counted
> > less than half a dozen for removal, and less than half a dozen against it.
> > I admit that a couple of mails weren't sent to the list, only to me
> > personally. But even discarding them, none of the numbers support what's
> > supposed to be a several year old discussion forum, not by a long shot.
> > The administrivia discussion is the bulk of traffic and it only managed to
> > spawn one single thread that seemed remotely relevant to the actual topic.
> > 
> I guess I wasn't paying attention to it being just one thread, but it
> generated enough bandwidth that I must have thought it was more.
> If you can recommend something like debian-devel, for consultant related
> topics, without the fluff and flames that debian-devel gets, that would be
> ideal.

i considered spitting my response to that first round into six or seven
posts, since i was proposing that many topics for discussion.  of
course i was as disappointed as anyone that the followup trailed off,
though that was clearly partially my own fault for failing to follow up.
anyway, i think it should be clear that substantive and productive
discussion is quite possible here, even if most of us presently require
a little more provocation than usual to pull us out.

next time i want to propose topics for discussion relevant to this list,
i'd like to just post them rather than needing to lobby for the creation
of a list and then collecting a relevant audience first.

> > > Why don't the people who don't believe it needs to exist anymore simply
> > > unsubscribe?
> > 
> > I'm afraid you've got a bigger issue than that -- I'm proposing this in my
> > capacity as one of listmaster@lists.debian.org >:)
> > 
> If you choose to use your perceived autocratic right to remove the list,
> then please also remove my address so that it will not be re-used at a
> future date on any new lists, where unlike this one, I may not chose
> to subscribe.

wow.  i'm not sure what to say to that.  generally speaking, i think
that falls into the category of "them's fight'n words," on the last two
sides at least.

moving on...  since some non-zero number of persons at
debian-consultants@lists.debian.org have taken the time to express
substantive reasons why this list should continue to exist, perhaps some
non-zero number of persons at listmaster@lists.debian.org could likewise
express substantive reasoning on the subject.  we've heard the "it's
unused" reason, which i honestly believe to be disproved in the sense
that we're here listening, and furthermore irrelevant in the sense that
an unused mailing list has extremely-near-zero support costs, so what's
the complaint?

i'd like to suggest that an authoritative role does not constitute in
and of itself a reason for anything, though a responsible role does
imply authority for limiting responsibility.  what is the responsibility
that listmaster@lists.debian.org is attempting to limit here?  hardware?
software?!?!  bandwidth?  labor?  complaints?  perhaps the problem is
resolvable in a fixed period of time in a well organized manner.

please explain the problem.  perhaps the pool of professional talent
on this list can suggest a solution.

Cameron Ashby <cameron@clueinc.net>

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