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Commercial interests & project leader

Hi all,

Of late, I've been considering who amongst the current developers would be a
viable candidate for project leader in the upcoming elections.  One person
who stood out as a potential candidate was Dale Scheetz.  Over the last
couple of years I've developed a healthy respect for his views on a wide
range of issues, and I've noted him as a calming, reasoned influence when
things have become heated.

I've spoken to Dale about this, and he is somewhat reluctant to be
considered for the job.  His main concern is that he has some commercial
interests that are related to Debian, and that some people see this as a
conflict of interest.  What are other people's opinions on this?  Is it a
conflict of interest?  Is it *viewed* as a conflict of interest?  Would it
be a problem to have a project leader with commercial interests derived from

I note here that Bruce has sold Debian CDs in the past, but that Dale's work
is perhaps on a larger scale (to be honest, I don't really know all that
much about it).  I also note that Dale has copped some flak in the past on
the issue of being outspoken on Debian policy and direction while also
earning money from work relating to Debian.  While I (and no doubt many
other Debian developers) have complete trust in Dale not to abuse any
position of "power" he has in the project for financial advantage, and to
put the good of Debian first at all times, others who don't know him so well
(particularly from outside the project) may not be so sure.  And even if we
all agree we trust him, is it going to be a problem dealing with sceptics
who decide to make noise on, say, the debian-user list?

The alternative is to not consider Dale and others who have financial
interests relating to Debian as candidates for project leader.  And if we do
this, where do we stop?  How much "commercial" activity is too much?  And
what about other important positions within the project?  Do we bar Dale and
others from the "VP" positions?  (Sorry Dale, better stop your work with the
testing group...  :-)

Anyway, enough rambling from me; what do the rest of you think?


Warwick Harvey                                    email: warwick@cs.mu.OZ.AU
Department of Computer Science                        phone: +61-3-9344-9171
University of Melbourne                                 fax: +61-3-9348-1184
Parkville, Victoria, AUSTRALIA 3052     web: http://www.cs.mu.OZ.AU/~warwick

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