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Re: long term goals of debian membership

* Christian Kurz <shorty@debian.org> [20001206 21:11]:
> New maintainers helping on QA even if we have no concept for QA and
> only a real small team doing QA? I don't appreciat this and talked
> with Martin Michlmayer, one of the AMs, about this and he generated
> a nice mail-text which will be useful for NMs. Maybe he could post
> it also here, because I think it's better then forcing NMs to help
> with QA.

Since it was requested, here's the text.  I started to mail it to
people who sign up to become developers.  I hope it helps.  (Skip the
intro about GnuPG, the QA stuff is below).

I am one of many Application Managers (AM) of Debian.  I have _not_
been assigned to you.  You will have to wait a little longer for an
AM to be assigned to you.  However, I wanted to share some tips with
you which should make your life and the life of your AM (once you are
assigned one) easier:

  - If you have not generated a GnuPG key yet, please do so.  Your GPG
    key must be a sign AND encryption key.  Use the newest version of
    gnupg to generate your key (version 1.0.4).  If you need help with
    GnuPG, visit http://www.gnupg.org or use the man page ("man gpg").

  - If your GnuPG key can not be found on a public key server yet,
    please export it.  You can do that with the following command:
       gpg --send-key --keyserver germany.keyserver.net  0xyourkeyid
    Of course you have to replace "0xyourkeyid" with your key ID.  You
     can find out your key ID with:
       gpg --list-keys "your name"

     For example, in my case, I write:
       gpg --list-keys "Martin Michlmayr"
     The output is:
        pub  1024D/68FD549F 1999-08-04 Martin Michlmayr <tbm@cyrius.com>
        uid                            Martin Michlmayr <tbm@debian.org>
        sub  2048g/B18833D7 1999-08-04

     My Key ID is thus 68FD549F -- you always have to take the string in
     the "pub" line (not from "sub").  In order to export my key, I use:
       gpg --send-key --keyserver germany.keyserver.net  0x68FD549F

  - If your GnuPG key is not signed by a current Debian developer, you
    should try to find a Debian developer close to you and arrange a
    key signing meeting.  There is a key signing coordination page
    which might be useful: http://oink.cc.ntu.edu.tw/~cklin/signing/
    Also, if you tell me where you live (and some big towns close to
    you), I might be able to tell you if there is a Debian developer
    close to you.

  - You don't have to be a Debian developer in order to contribute to
    Debian.  While you wait for an AM to be assigned to you, you can
    browse the Bug Tracking System (BTS) at http://bugs.debian.org and
    fix some bugs -- simply submit a patch through the BTS.  If you have
    submitted patches or good bug reports, this will also impress your
    AM and help you get approved.

  - If you want to join Debian in order to maintain a package, you
    should make sure the package is ready when an AM is assigned to you.
    If you have no package yet, please find an application you would
    like to package and read all the documentation available at
    http://www.debian.org/devel/ (The Policy, the New Maintainers Guide
    and the Developer's Reference.  All of these documents are also
    available as Debian packages for off-line reading).

    Before you start to work on a particular application, please make
    sure that no one else is currently working on it.  The WNPP pages at
    http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp list all packages currently being
    worked on.  If your application is not listed there, please make an
    ITP (an Intent To Package), so other people know that you are
    working on this package.  A detailed description on making ITPs is
    available at http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp  ITPs are filed as
    wishlist bugs against the "wnpp" package -- http://bugs.debian.org
    also offers good information on filing bugs properly.

  - Debian has the idea of "sponsoring" -- an experienced developer will
    look at your package and help you to improve it.  I suggest that you
    try to find a sponsor for your package.  If you have a sponsor, your
    AM will be able to make a recommendation much faster.  You can try
    to find a sponsor by having yourself listed at
    http://www.internatif.org/bortzmeyer/debian/sponsor or by asking for
    a sponsor on the debian-mentors mailing list (see
    http://www.debian.org/MailingLists/subscribe).  Send a mail to the
    list, describe the application you are packaging, include an URL and
    the bug number of the ITP you have filed and ask if someone would
    like to sponsor and mentor you.  Learning from an experienced
    developer is one of the best ways to improve your skills!

  - Finally, a word about the goals and aims of Debian.  Due to its
    increasing popularity, the number of Debian packages keeps growing.
    Also, many people want to join Debian as a developer.  This is good.
    However, we should not only try to make Debian bigger but also try
    to increase the _quality_ of the distribution.  After all, Debian
    is famous for its great quality and stability.

    So, if you want to package an application, ask yourself if other
    people will actually use this package.  Is it necessary, or wouldn't
    it make more sense to spend your time fixing bugs in existing
    packages?  You can help Debian much by looking for bugs in packages
    or by submitting patches to known bugs (see http://bugs.debian.org
    for a listing of all currently known bugs).

    Summing up: Debian is known for its quality.  You can help Debian
    in a great way by submitting good bug reports and by fixing bugs
    (fix the bug and submit a patch to the Bug Tracking System).  Also,
    consider joining the Quality Assurance Team.  There is a mailing
    list (debian-qa) and a web site (http://qa.debian.org).  Your
    help in increasing the quality of Debian is welcome (and needed)!

I hope you will find this information valuable.  Feedback is welcome.

Thanks for volunteering for Debian!

Martin Michlmayr

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