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Re: [Fwd: [RFC] Making NM 'by recommendation']

On Sun, Jan 28, 2001 at 11:20:07AM +1100, Glenn McGrath wrote:
> I think a few people on debian-devel might have comments on this.
> There is a faction of debian developers who are elitists and want to
> close the system to new developers (numerous attempts have bee nmade by
> diffferent methods)

I think this is not, in any way, what Michael was suggesting.  I don't
know whether you have been following what has been happening in the
New Maintainer arena for the last two years, but the rate at which
people are currently being accepted into Debian is far higher than it
has ever been before.

However, this is due to the stirling work of a large number of
volunteers who are devoting part of their time to acting as
Application Managers, gathering the required information from
prospective developers and ensuring that they have the technical
competence to do what they wish to do for Debian.

What many of the AMs are noticing, however, is that over the last
couple of months, the people who are in the NM queue are more and more
often either not interested in becoming developers, or they don't
respond to emails, or they have no idea what they are doing, or they
don't know what they want to do in Debian.  I effectively ended up
sponsoring one of my applicants until he was technically up to the
level I felt was required of a developer (and if the developer
concerned is reading this, I don't mean this personally).

What is the result of this?  Applications are handled in general on a
first-come, first-served basis, and the rate of applications being
received is now significantly greater than that of them being
processed.  So the queue is going to grow again, despite our best
efforts, but critically, those people who are actively already working
for Debian and need to become registered developers to effectively do
their work are being lost among those who have no idea.  There is a
system for putting applicants "on hold" if they are not ready, or
don't respond, but it wastes the small amount of time that the AMs
have to devote to this work, and thereby holds up those people who
really ought to be in the queue.

The proposal is a simple one.  Already, someone is only accepted as a
new maintainer if they pass the requirements (all of which are
documented explicitly on the website, see under
http://www.debian.org/devel/join/newmaint).  The suggestion is that
they have to convince an existing maintainer to recommend them to the
NM team before they will join the queue.  Now, anyone who is seriously
interested in becoming a new maintainer should already be actively
involved in some aspect of Debian, either active on a list or working
on a package through the sponsorship system.  If they are so unknown
that they cannot even find even one developer who is willing to put
their name forward to the NM team, why are they applying in the first

If this proposal means that the number of applicants who just drop out
of the process after wasting people's time is significantly reduced,
then it is worth it.  And if it means that applicants enter the NM
system actually ready to become maintainers (with all the docs and
experience etc required), then it will help many more people to join
Debian far more quickly.  And I do not envisage that a single
applicant who would have got through will be prevented from doing so
by this proposal.

So I see this proposal as a way of helping Debian to open its doors
rather than the opposite.



         Julian Gilbey, Dept of Maths, Queen Mary, Univ. of London
       Debian GNU/Linux Developer,  see http://people.debian.org/~jdg
  Donate free food to the world's hungry: see http://www.thehungersite.com/

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