Re: Developer Behavior
It's a totally informal and unofficial first draft. Maybe a better way of
expressing my thoughts would be:
"A Debian Developer will never knowingly allow a mission critical server to
run unstable unless all the affected users and managers understand the
or, perhaps more acceptable:
"A Debian Developer will completely accept, understand, and expect the
problems that result from running unstable without reacting in anger and
What I'm getting at is the prevention of emails like:
"I upgraded my machine to unstable because I wanted to run the latest GTK
solitaire game, but then libc broke and now the embedded system is locked
up so the primary cooling pumps shut down, and the reactor core is
overheating, what do I do now, please respond before the reactor
Chernobyls!" or similar dramatic responses. I'm not trying to make fun of
people getting fired because their webhosting or dnshosting goes down, but
there's some tragic humor in seeing people destroy their critical business
tools over and over by running unstable without knowing the consequences.
Then again, you could say they destroy their critical business tools every
time they get out the Microsoft installation CDRom (humor). Once one
person learns the hard way what not to do, there's always someone else
ready to do the same dumb thing.
I really didn't expect as many complaints as I got... I know that if I ran
unstable on a mission critical machine at work, I'd get fired when it
crashed, because of poor judgement (and rightly so!). It seems unwise to
run experimental development kernels or development packages on something
that should not be screwed around with. And if it is OK to screw around
with it, then either it's really not mission critical after all, so its OK
to screw around with it because it doesn't really matter, or the management
is totally screwed up. It would be unprofessional for my doctor to give me
experimental drugs that might cure me or might kill me, and I think it's
equally unprofessional for a sysadmin to install experimental software that
might kill the machine.
Thus ironically bringing us full circle to the start of the thread where
howling occurred because a bunch of users lost access when a working
(presumably mission critical) machine was upgraded, resulting in a flamewar
about how dare the developer not care that the endusers were screwed when X
broke (because the upgrader was not familiar with the changes), etc.
If I felt like stirring the pot, I'd propose we stop calling it "unstable"
and start calling it "full-of-bugs". People like developers won't be
scared of the bugs, but the people doing "important end user things" will
be scared away (except for the stupid people, but there's nothing that can
be done to help them, other than euthanasia). We could rename "stable" to
Another idea would be to change the /etc/issue for unstable and stable such
that they print the approximate number of release critical bugs in stable,
testing, and unstable. It might even motivate developers to work bugs so
they don't have to see a huge number every time they log in. Even a change
from "Unstable" to "Unstable with approx 9000 release critical bugs as of
x/y/2001" might be interesting.
Enough subject drift.
The ham radio connection. There's no direct connection, other than
Both the ARRL and Debian are nongovernmental agencies composed of
volunteers, and a tiny fraction of people whom are paid to work on the
project, to make their "product" as good as it can be, primarily for the
benefit of the members, but society at large also benefits. The front of
the ARRL handbook has had the "amateur code" in it for as long as I can
remember, to encourage radio operators to behave. A listen to certain
parts of the 80 meter band shows that isn't totally effective, but at least
the ARRL tries, and all a volunteer organization can do is try to encourage
good behavior, can't really force it. I see some similarity in Debian.
The ARRL also has a "considerate operator's bandplan" which most people
seem to follow, which also is good inspiration.
A statement of shared values that we should at least try to be civil to
each other and all play together nicely according to our rules certainly
can't do any harm (?)
----- Forwarded by Vince Mulhollon/Brookfield/Norlight on 01/08/2001 02:44
Sullivan To: email@example.com
<johno@cruith cc: (bcc: Vince Mulhollon/Brookfield/Norlight)
ne.org> Fax to:
Subject: Re: Developer Behavior
On Mon, 08 Jan 2001 16:17:42 Vince Mulhollon wrote:
> 5) A Debian Developer will never knowingly run a production server
> "unstable" and will never encourage a non-developer to run
For the record I object to any Code of Condust that includes this
btw I'm a Ham operator and I recognise the value of the rules we
operate by. I don't see any connection between this clause and
anything related to Ham radio.
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