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Bug#727708: call for votes on default Linux init system for jessie

On 10 February 2014 06:41, Serge Kosyrev <skosyrev@ptsecurity.ru> wrote:
> False.  Three messages on this list brought this conflict of interest
> into light:
> http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=727708#2810 by Anthony Towns
> [...]
> There was no answer.

So, fwiw, I thought the above was kind of mean on my behalf. Not
/wrong/ per se, just mean.

I haven't been able to think of a *good* "answer" for this concern,
even in an arbitrary ideal world where the constraints are different.

For instance, Steve could recuse himself from the discussion entirely
-- that's what you'd expect in many cases where there are commercial
conflicts of interest, eg. But that would be ridiculous here, because
both his technical knowledge as upstart maintainer is nigh-on
essential to the discussion, and his input as to how things have
worked in Canonical is pretty useful too.

He could recuse himself from voting, or perhaps the committee chair or
committee as a whole could ask him to do so -- but at least at this
point, that would be effectively equivalent to Steve directly voting
systemd above upstart, and that would be a fairly unreasonable forced
reversal of preferences for Steve to make, or it would involve a
conflict of interest on behalf of the chair (who's indicated a
preference for systemd), or the rest of the committee (which has
indicated a 4:3 preference for systemd). Maybe one of these things
would have been good to do earlier, before positions had coalesced,
but I don't think they're reasonable things to do or expect now. (They
might have been when I sent the mail, but if so, they only remained
plausible for a pretty short window in my opinion; further, Steve
mentions that the committee discussed this earlier and came to the
conclusion that no action was needed)

If the committee had the flexibility to do so, maybe a reasonable
thing would have been to replace Steve for this vote with a less
interested party early in the discussions; eg by letting Phil Kern
step in to provide the 8th vote for this issue, so that Steve could
simply act as an advocate and technical advisor to the committee on
this issue. Alternatively, perhaps a reasonable thing might have been
to give the primary systemd, sysvinit and upstart maintainers the
ability to vote on this issue too. Neither were options open to the
committee though.

As it stands, though, Steve has to: consider the implications for
Debian, consider the implications for upstart (as maintainer),
consider the implications for Canonical and Ubuntu (as a Canonical
employee and Ubuntu dev), mostly dismiss the implications for
Canonical/Ubuntu (in order to prioritise the implications for Debian
as a ctte member making a ctte decision), and deal with accusations of
having a conflict of interest, despite not being able to do anything
concrete to address them. Oh, and I gather Steve's trying to run a
debconf in six months time or so too, which I understand could add
some degree of stress on its own...

So yeah, I stand by my description of that as "fairly challenging",
and I'm really glad it's not me in that position.


Anthony Towns <aj@erisian.com.au>

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