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Re: DPLs : what do you think about ...

On Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 09:48:18AM -0500, Ben Collins wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 13, 1998 at 10:12:23PM -0800, Joey Hess wrote:
> > Look, if I feel like adding wonderful feature x to debhelper, that does not
> > mean I feel like finding a bug in some package I don't use and fixing it. If
> > you want people to contribute to debian, don't keep puttingh all this
> > annoyance in our way of doing so.
> Then don't help. [...]


My apologies. I've been trying not to throw my two cents in to the
leadership wrangles -- I know others both have a better idea about what
Debian needs in a leader, and how to tell if the various contendors
have got it. Me, I know next to nothing. 

What I am pretty sure of though is the one phrase we *don't* need is
``Then don't help.''

As a volunteer organisation, we need help. As one which is growing more
rapidly than we can probably cope with, we need help. As one which is
constantly aflush with contributors bemoaning that they just don't have
as much time to dedicate to Debian as they'd like, we need, quite frankly,
all the help we can get.

And while we certainly want to focus that help towards more critical
areas, and while we sometimes have to say `no' to offers of assistance
because we just can't make use of them yet, what we do *not* want to
start doing is saying `no' just because what they want to do isn't the
-devel flavour of the month.


[some notes: 

Every now and then, usually when I'm in a bad mood and don't feel like
doing anything constructive, I look for bugs to fix. I've done a couple
of NMU's now. 

What's surprised me most, after all the talk of "If you're going to make
an NMU, mail the maintainer first and get permission, and post the diffs
to the BTS, and make minimal changes, and are you sure you want to do
this, be careful now, you could take someone's eye out with that..." and
so on, is just how appreciative everyone is. Responses range from "Oh,
yes, I've been busy, please do! Thanks!", to "Eeek, I hadn't seen that
bug, thanks for reminding me", and even "Oh, that's fixed, hang on,
I'll close it."

Personally, I like being able to find something random to do, that no one
else on the planet seems interested in, kill an hour, and get nice emails
about it. But, personally, if I a simple ``hey, thanks!'' starts becoming,
``hey, thanks for adding that feature to foobar, but don't you think you
really should have spent the hour on that nasty bug in bazquux instead?''
I'm not sure I really want to bother.

Second, I realise that Ben had a "but seriously" following the above.
Frankly, I don't much care. In my limited experience it's the little
phrases that just slip out that you've got to watch out for, not the
rants and raves, or the platforms and policies.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. PGP encrypted mail preferred.

``Like the ski resort of girls looking for husbands and husbands looking
  for girls, the situation is not as symmetrical as it might seem.''

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