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Bits from the DPL

Dear Debian Developers

We continue to face extraordinary times together. The current pandemic has likely touched each one of us in some form or another, and yet, it's inescapable that it's but one of the many crises we share together on this piece of rock traveling through space.

I'm incredibly proud of what the Debian community manages to achieve even as we face adversity both as individuals, and as a project.

Earlier this month, Debian 11 (bullseye) was released[1]. This release happened a bit later than we would've liked, but fortunately it resulted in an exceptionally high quality release and feedback so far have been great. The release team originally considered a much earlier release date, but there's been some complications along the way. Having followed them closely over the last few months, I'm very thankful of the really great work that they've been doing, so a sincere thanks to the release team for all their efforts. Also to everyone else who have contributed the the bullseye release, that is a very long list of individuals!

Over the last week, we've had our 22nd DebConf event[2]. Like last year, this was also an on-line event. It certainly had a more somber aura than last year's event, many of us had hoped last year that by now we'd be able to get back together and meet in person again. Despite some COVID-era fatigue, it turned out to be a good event, we had a number of high quality talks, were still able to put some faces to names and
still managed to have some fun too. Thanks to everyone who attended or contributed to DebConf21 in some form or another!

- From my side, I did submit a "Bits from the DPL" talk for the conference, but a torrent of continued incoming stuff got in the way of recording the talk. I prepared most of it already, so I thought I'd go ahead and be traditional and do this in a few e-mails instead and do the traditional Bits from the DPL talk in a later conference during this term.

== Finances ==

As a recap, here are the numbers taken from the DC20 Bits from the DPL talk:

=== 2020 ===

Debian France:          €43 543 (US$51 055)

Debian.ch:              CHF 83 323 (US$90 754)


DebConf earmarks:       US$127 422

Debian main:            US$626 834

- --------------------------------------------------------------
Total:                  $896 065

And here are the updated figures:

=== 2021 ===

Debian France:        ~ €68953 (USD $80 764)

Debian.ch:            CHF ~107 868 (USD $117 926)


DebConf earmarks:     US$31 156

Debian main:          US$750 268

- --------------------------------------------------------------
Total:                ~ $980 204

I mark the numbers as approximate because there are some AGMs that still need to happen in order to finalize numbers, but the total is a very close approximation of our current available funds.

To the casual observer, it may appear that our total balance is simply ballooning. Fortunately, this is not the case. We ended up doing a great job at spending money to improve Debian. This included some significant DSA upgrades (some I believe still in progress, I should probably poke them to do a bits from DSA post!), a bunch of laptops (among them, our installer team finally has some new nvidia/ryzen hardware to test with), and various other bits of components for DDs that include a Sparc CPU, memory, hard disks and other such miscellaneous expenses.

As DPL, I was able to approve every request that was made over the last year. This was made easy thanks to the generous donations that both individuals and corporations make to the project. So thank you to all the donors who help our volunteers to save time and make their work on Debian either easier or even possible all together.

For me as DPL, it's a very sore point that we can benefit so much from in-person meetings such as sprints or even user meet-ups, and that we have the cash to fund all incoming requests and yet the current circumstances simply doesn't allow that.

I was glad to see another BoF for Local Groups at this DebConf[3], I think it will be important that when we start putting together some form of new normal, that we foster and develop our local groups because this is one of the best ways to increase our reach and gain more contributors and increase our diversity.

During the remainder of my term, along with other Debian Developers on the debian-project mailing list, I aim to put together a set of policies that may help make it easier for DDs to request funding and also for local groups to pay for things like stickers, pens, pizza, beer, cake, tea, etc. During the last year and a bit I've often had to encourage people to send through a re-imbursement request, or have had to spend some time explaining to them that it really is ok for Debian contributors to spend Debian money to make Debian better. More benefits of having a spending policy codified is that approvals would be more consistent depending on who's DPL, we'll have some base that we can modify going forward based on our experience, and perhaps we can delegate some (or all) approvals to the treasurer team if they tick a certain selection of boxes. During the last two DPL election periods, the discussion came up again on whether we should have some form of DPL committee, or a project board. I think that at the very least, it would be good to reduce bus factor on the DPL role, and a good way to do that is to keep delegating more of the responsibilities. Having more policies and guidelines in place makes this possible.

== General Resolutions ==

Over the last few years we've had some tough GRs to deal with. I'm hoping that we can work together and show some compassion to one another for the upcoming GRs. None are in progress yet, but now that both the bullseye release and DebConf21 is over, I suspect that we'll be returning to our usual scheduled discussions, and it seems that at least a few of those that were in progress over the last year might result in GRs.

So I urge you once again to practice some understanding. So much bitterness has risen in the past from people not understanding each other. There's tremendous value in making sure that the person on the other side actually meant what you thought they meant. In many cases when I've done this (especially when surprised at what they said), it turned out that they had simply left out something as simple as a "not" in a sentence. So, please don't make anger and frustration your default, there are other and better ways to deal with disagreements. When you fundamentally disagree with something, please make your voice heard. But please, if you've done that, you don't have to reply to every single mail in a thread to re-state that view ad nauseam.

== Legal ==

You might have noticed in our public financial reports via SPI that we've been spending more money on legal fees. Myself and a small team have been working on a very unpleasant problem for a while now, and after many many hurdles, we seem to be getting close to a point where we can make a public statement about this, probably within the next 2-4 weeks.

== Other ==

I have a whole bunch of important topics that I'd like to bring up, which I'll do on the debian-project list instead. If you don't follow there (which I believe you should if you're a project member), then I'll provide some summaries in the next Bits from the DPL.

If you've made it this far, thanks and stay safe!

- -Jonathan, Debian Project Leader

== Links ==

[1] https://www.debian.org/News/2021/20210814
[2] https://debconf21.debconf.org/
[3] https://debconf21.debconf.org/talks/38-local-groups-bof/

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