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Bits from the DPL: FTP assistants, DM, APT, sharing patches

   Hello fellow developers!

   It's been some time since my last bits. But rejoice: there is so much
to say that I will certainly miss a lot of things and have to do another
e-mail within a short time.

   I am going to give my opinion about a few current topics. I am well
aware that I cannot take everyone's side. You are of course free to
disagree with me, but I cannot stay neutral about everything. Debian is
not a Wikipedia article.

FTP assistants

   Since my call for new FTP assistants [1], an amazing fifteen people
have contacted me to offer help, and none of them is a release manager
or someone already with big responsibilities in Debian. Which means that
hopefully we will have too many people willing to do the job.

   I just sent a commented list of people to the FTP team. What is going
to happen now is yet undecided, but although I have not taken the time
to answer everyone so far, I'll keep each of the volunteers informed.

The DM proposal

   Developers are currently being asked to vote about the concept of
Debian Maintainers [2] as proposed by Anthony Towns. Anyone with enough
courage to read -vote must have seen the hot discussions about it. I
must admit that there are extremely convincing arguments both supporting
and opposing the proposal and I am not going to repeat them.

   I will however state the main reason why I am going to vote *for* the
proposal and not wait for something different: because it dilutes power.
The concentration of powers in Debian has been worrying me for ages and
I consider the benefits of this power dilution to outweigh the cost of
the various disadvantages that have been exposed.

   I would also like to comment on the alleged privacy violations that
have occurred on debian-vote. While everyone has a right to privacy that
should be respected within Debian, there is a difference between the
privacy of the person and the secrecy of the information. As I said in
my DPL platform [3], our Social Contract's "We will not hide problems"
is not only for our BTS. So if something is preventing Debian from
working properly, I will welcome any reasonable attempt to make that
information known to everyone in Debian.

APT's Recommends handling

   Today's hot discussion is about APT now installing Recommended
packages by default [4]. Again, what I am seeing in this thread is
something I exposed in my platform: conservatism and reluctancy to

   The APT developers' decision is consistent (with aptitude) and
policy-compliant. Recommended packages are the packages that are
installed together in all but unusual installations. If you have an
unusual installation, please use --no-install-recommends. If you believe
a Recommends: field is wrong, please report a bug against the package so
that it is either dropped or changed into a Suggests: field.


   I talked about Debian at an Ubuntu install party in Paris on June
30th and at the 8th Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libre in Amiens
on July 13th. Both events were recorded and I will submit the video
files to our archive. In the meantime, the slides are available from my
webpage [5].

Patch sharing project

   One of the big technical projects in my platform was "Take back from
other distributions", through the sharing of patches across different
distributions amongst others.

    I have met with Mandriva executives last week and talked to members
of the Ubuntu community about ways to achieve this, and we are going
to launch a "neutral" project that can hopefully be used by developers
from all distributions. I do not have many details to share yet because
all the communication was done in French, but once the organisation is
decided I will say more about it. In the meantime, do not hesitate to
contact me if you are interested.

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2007/07/msg00003.html
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2007/07/msg00009.html
[3] http://www.debian.org/vote/2007/platforms/sho
[4] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2007/08/msg00000.html
[5] http://sam.zoy.org/lectures/


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