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Re: The status of desktop-base in wheezy

Dear list,

Franz has said most of what my situation was as well.

My suggestion to avoid a similar situation next time is:
- announce the contest pretty early, so that we do not run out of time (could be done with the release of Wheezy and with Wheezy+1 in testing)
- place the constraints on that wiki page, such as time-line (proposals have to be nearly ready with freeze - it's obvious to me now, but it was not when I started working on my proposal)
- place any call for help etc. on the same wiki page, so that late comers (like me) have a chance to step in

   Dietmar (aka Drahtseil)

PS: Anyway, thanks for the nice theme - I am looking forward to seeing it on my desktop

Am Dienstag, den 03.07.2012, 11:42 +0200 schrieb Franz Gratzer:
Hi Stefano,

thank you for the explanation. In my opinion it was important an helps a
lot to limit frustration.

Unfortionally it looks like I joined the desktop list just to late. I
didn't learn that there was nobody caring for the voting process until
Paul stepped in.

I joined the desktop-list because I saw the call for artworks on debian
news and thought it would be great be involved in the realisation of the
new look and feel of the next debain release.

If I knew right away I might have tried to step in to help with it. (On
the other hand I'm possibly not very qualified since I know little about
the whole process and who is involved in different ways.)

I completely agree that it should be coordinated much better next time
and that it is absolutely necessary to remember what happened to avoid
the same issue with the next release.

Since I can't ensure, that I will be around then because it will be
years in the future, I strongly suggest to place two notes on the

1) Tell (very shortly) what happened.

2) Suggest publishing the responsible people for the process (directly
on the wiki page) next time and state that the same thing might happen
again if nobody is prepared to volunteer for this tasks. (It might help
as well to publish a timetable with deadlines for the necessary steps.)

I could try to write something like that - if the members of this list
agree on that...


On Mon, 2012-07-02 at 14:47 -0600, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> ,,,
> Before looking at the details, let's ask ourselves while we (partially)
> failed: because nobody picked up the job of organizing the selection
> process. Yves-Alexis, who did the job for the Squeeze, made it very
> clear that he wasn't willing to do that again. And that's a very good
> start actually: stepping down considerately is very helpful for other
> team members. But that's not enough to find someone else doing the
> job. Which is why I've been calling repeatedly for volunteers, both on
> this list and on debian-devel-announce, willing to do the job. Finding
> no one. So I did try to cover it up myself, one step at a time, but at
> each step I made it very clear that I didn't want to step on anybody's
> toes and that I'd have preferred if some of the people active on this
> list pick up the remaining tasks. (Still finding no one.)
> So, what did work well? My answer: the call for help went well. We sent
> out a PR on it and we got 24 submitted proposals for Wheezy. If the wiki
> pages are to be trusted on this, we got only 4 for Squeeze. This is
> massive improvement! No matter which decision process we choose and its
> flaws, proposals are what allow to make a decision in the first place
> and all artists who contributed a proposal have helped with that, even
> if they haven't been chosen.
> And what didn't work well? The timing and the (meta-)decision on how to
> decide the artwork. Even if I didn't really want to do this myself, I
> "gladly" take my share of responsibility on these two. I didn't really
> realize (out of naivety) that a good deal of the theme should've been
> ready for the Freeze. I was (implicitly) counting on freeze exceptions
> and I didn't know theme-related exceptions had caused RC bugs in the
> past.
> Then there's the meta-decision. I did mention surveys as a possible
> mechanism for choosing the theme, but actually never committed to it.
> Originally, I wanted to discuss how to decide on this list. But more
> recently, discussing with people who worked on this in the past, I got
> convinced of doing it differently: nominating a group of people (a
> "committee", if you want) that would've taken the decision. Given no one
> else was doing the job, I thought it would've been legitimate to do so,
> possibly (DPL) delegating the committee members to take the decision.
> In fact, the day Paul picked up the task, I was looking for committee
> members, starting first with informal /query-ies, as I often do for this
> kind of stuff. I didn't have much luck with that either; of the people
> who I contacted, only Yves-Alexis was willing to participate (thanks!),
> although only as a fallback if I was short on candidates. I would've
> escalated the call for team members to this list, but Paul stepped in
> first.
> In the end, that final timing part is no big deal, the problem is that
> we were too late anyhow. Yes, that sucks, and I'm concerned because what
> happened gets in the way of the ability of we, Debian "packagers", to
> work with Debian "artists". I'm really sorry. But that's what happened.
> I think it happened that way because we have been unable to find, for
> more than 1 year, someone willing to coordinate the decision process.
> That kind of "management" contributions are as useful as packaging
> contributions and artistic contributions; we really need to find a way
> to attract them.
> Could we do better next time? Ulrich is right to have doubts, given he
> has been dissatisfied with how the process went with Squeeze already.
> My answer is that I've no idea. It could go better if: (1) we remember
> this and (2) someone steps in and do the coordination work with
> sufficient time advance. Either way, I think we should keep in mind what
> went well (the call for artwork) and repeat it.
> Thanks for the time you all put in making Wheezy a nice-looking release.
> Cheers.
> PS I think one specific criticism mentioned by Ulrich in this thread is
>    not particularly fair, the one about (paraphrasing) "I've submitted
>    on a proposal and I now feel I wasted my time". That specific problem
>    is not related to how we made the decision, it's a more general
>    problem of calling for several artworks and choosing only one of
>    them, be it by vote, committee, of benevolent dictator ruling. In
>    part, I disagree it's wasted time all together; as I mentioned above
>    we need different proposals to make a choice, that's useful
>    contribution already. On the other hand, we should (and could)
>    minimize the sensation of wasted time, by shipping alternative
>    proposals and make it technically easy to change theme, distro-wide,
>    in a given Debian release.

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