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Re: How to become a maintainer

Atsuhito Kohda a écrit:

> Hi,

Hello, I'm a French, and I'm nothing to Debian organization at the moment, so
this is only a friendly comment of your mail. I hope for you that you will
receive an authorized answer from somebody actually involved in development.

> I am a Japanese and participate in Debian JP which, I hope you
> all know already, is the supporting team of Debian in Japan

I have a very egocentric proof of the efficiency of Debian JP. I have the
surprise to observe that Japan is almost always the first country to visit the
web page where one can see my proposal for the logos.
This means that Debian JP is driven enough to notice even secondary messages like
mines ; efficient enough to put on its web site links only a few hours after a
proposal has been posted ; and numerous enough to have dozens of persons
following these links !
Thanks, it has been a great encouragement !

> and
> makes great efforts to internationalize Debian.
> Several members of Debian JP are also official Debian developers.

IMHO, internationalization is one of the main goal, the evolution of hardware
allowing us to implement Unicode without being anxious about the waste of memory
and so on.

> I reported the bug of dvi2tty package (with the patch!) almost
> a year ago, but the bug is not fixed yet. So I am thinking about
> becoming a official maintainer and fixing it by myself.
> I also have several packages in Debian JP which I want to upload
> for Debian itself.
> As indicated in documents, I subscribed
> "debian-devel@lists.debian.org" successfully and also I registered
> my PGP key in the public key server.
> But there remains BIG problem left.
> According to "developers-reference", you impose us as our
> real-life identity a PGP key signed by any well-known signature
> or alternatively to send copy of any formal documents certifying
> our identity (such as a birth certificate, national ID card,
> U.S. Driver's License, etc.), but in Japan there are no national
> ID card, especially if it is needed to be written in English.
> Also I have not met any Debian developer in real life and
> have not U.S. Driver's License yet.
> And I heared also that after sending e-mail to
> "new-maintainer@debian.org", the staff will make a telephone
> call to us, perhaps at deep midnight in Japan, and make conversation
> short on substance mainly because of our lack of ability in English.
> These situations of Debian are against internationalization and
> prevent foreign people, especially Japanese people, to be Debian
> developer.
> So I want to ask if you can accept the following.
> You accept, for example, Japanese Driver's License as our
> real-life identity but you may feel uncertainty because it is
> written in Japanese and you can not understand it naturally.
> So you send copy to some Japanese official Debian developer
> at random or whom the staff thinks reliable, and request him to
> check if he can identify us and also to make a telephone call
> to us at daytime in Japan.
> Then he can check Japanese certification well and also we can
> make much more efficient and substantial conversations to identify
> us in Japanese of course.
> After this, the selected Japanese official Debian developer
> must report the results to the original staff by e-mail.
> Don't you think that this is much more efficient method than the
> current method ?

As I said in the beginning, the following is only an unauthorized comment.

I think you're right for the following reasons :
the success of free software ( I don't mean gratis, but allowing the access to
the sources, thus to a knowledge which is the real liberty) is not the result of
an absolute anarchist development, but the result of the combination of an *open*
process and, actually, a kind of *hierarchical* organization :

- the open process permits anybody who has the will and the abilities to be
involved ; and thus, a good idea has less risks to be spoiled ;

- the hierarchical organization, as long as it is the result of capabilities and
not what we're finding in old institutions - I mean the consequence of
relationships, seniority and habits - is the efficientest method to have the best
outcomes, because intelligence is an intensive value ( in a thermodynamic sense),
not an extensive one : the intelligence of a crowd is not the addition of the
intelligences of the individuals, but is generaly smaller than the intelligence
of the more intelligent ( there is even some cases where the intelligence of the
total is smaller than the intelligence of the less intelligent).
If , *for a particular purpose*, the leader is the more capable, then the crowd
has the maximum intelligence, and the work force is in that case the addition of
the individual forces.

So, IMHO, there must be a hierarchical organization which preserves the open
process : your proposal, a hierarchical organization based on geographical
sub-structures is a logical solution, which keeps the whole hierarchy and will
prevent us from loosing capacities disgusted by "administrative" malfunction due
to a charge of work which is not humanly tolerable.

Debian is, in my mind, a world of work where sun never rises : there is always
somebody, somewhere on the earth, working for or around Debian, but it's a
midnight job, beginning when the "normal" day has finished !

> You should consider that
> * there are many other Japanese maintainers in Debian JP who
> can be official maintainers of Debian soon if the above method is
> accepted, and also
> * the above method is not relaxing conditions, but make it
> more practical, I believe.
> Thanks in advance.
>                                 1999.5.5
> --
>  **************************
>  Atsuhito Kohda
>  Dep. Math., Tokushima Univ.
>  kohda@pm.tokushima-u.ac.jp

I hope for you , and for us, that there will be a more useful feedback than mine.


Thierry LARONDE.


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