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Re: Uploading new packages to Debian instead of Ubuntu [was Re: Skeletor?]

OK, lets excavate this topic a bit... (apologies for the length)

To put it mildly there is a truckload of useful free software
available that is not in Debian (or Ubuntu).

Uploader time is currently outstripped by the amount of such software
and people packaging such software.

This issue will always exist simply because the FLOSS community is
much larger than the pool of people working on Debian and its
derivatives and always will be. This is both a blessing and a burden
but is here to stay.

One way to cope with this is automation. mentors.d.n needs a codebase
upgrade (to debexpo) and the writing of associated software (lintian
add-ons etc) so that we can help streamline the sponsorship process by
automating many checks done and questions asked by sponsors and
converting more of the pre-upload QA done by sponsors into the
maintainers just fixing stuff before involving the sponsors at all.
This reduces the time investment by sponsors and helps us scale the
sponsorship process a bit better. If anyone wants to help add features
from REVU to mentors.debian.net, debexpo needs people to polish it
until it is better than the existing site.

One potential downside of automating such technical education is
reduction in human to human interaction, the build-up of relationships
and associated motivation and in many cases the resulting commitment
to Debian. One counter to this downside is inviting people to come to
DebConf (or other Debian events), meet people already involved in the
project and  participate in and create Debian traditions and culture.

Another way to cope with software volume is selectivity, some of you
may have read Matt Zimmerman's blog post on this subject. We should
ask, do we need to package everything on Earth? Could we instead teach
users to own their computing experience, how to interact with
technology in an empowering way, how to learn to use the freedoms
offered by free software instead of being spoonfed consumers of a
shrink-wrapped technology experience. Such teaching can only be of
benefit to both users (a better tech experience faster) and to
distributions (a greater pool of contributors etc).

Probably a combination of these and other approaches is the right way to go.

OK, and on to the specific suggestions for Ubuntu (and other derivatives)...

In short, be bold. Debian has good audit trails and most mistakes can be undone.

Overall, please educate people that Debian both needs and values their
contributions, their commitment, their time and their presence. If
anyone in Debian gives them the impression that this isn't the case,
there has probably been a miscommunication or misunderstanding.

Please do direct people to get their packages uploaded to Debian.

Please educate such folks about the cultural difference in Debian
where each package theoretically has at least one specific "domain
expert" listed in the Maintainer/Uploader fields that has committed to
working on the package. I may have misheard Mark Shuttleworth today at
DebConf10, but I was surprised to hear him express what sounded like
regret at relaxing this in Ubuntu. I was under the impression the lack
of this was considered a feature of Ubuntu.

Please educate such folks about the limited humanpower available for
reviewing packages and ways to for them to help reduce the time
investment for sponsors.

Please educate such folks about the appropriate channels for getting
software reviewed and into Debian, see below.

Please educate such folks about the DM process so they can upload
their pet packages directly once trusted with them.

Please educate such folks about the NM process and ask them to
remember their sponsorship experience and improve it for others when
they become a DD.

Please educate such folks that core packages usually need people to
help out and are often a really great and rewarding way to contribute.

Please educate such folks about existing packaging teams (games, perl,
python etc) where they can find specialised sponsorship. Please also
ask them to note that such teams can be overloaded with packages and
greatly appreciate it when people bringing new stuff also bring extra
hands to work on the existing packages maintained by the team.

Please educate people how to improve Debian via GRs, polls,
policy/lintian updates, blog posts and (constructive) mail threads.

In short, please get people to *join* Debian.

On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 5:02 PM, Iain Lane <laney@ubuntu.com> wrote:

> Actually, in addition to what I've said above, we now have the
> #debian-ubuntu channel on OFTC set up. I believe that one function of
> this channel could be to facilitate sponsorship in Debian. There's
> also the Derivatives Front Desk[1], which is part of the same
> initiative.

I would strongly suggest not treating packages from derivatives any
different to all sponsored packages, that would be unfair on sponsored
maintainers in general. Please use the existing infrastructure where
possible; mentors.d.n, debian-mentors@lists.d.o and #debian-mentors.

I'd also like a #debian-derivatives complement to #debian-ubuntu.

> Sorry for turning this into a soapbox-style diatribe. :)

Eeep, I've done the same but worse :(



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