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Re: About NM and Next Release

On Thu, 7 Aug 2003 13:29:03 -0700
Craig Dickson <crdic@pacbell.net> wrote:
> Andrew said that merely liking Debian wasn't a good enough reason to
> want to join the project. 

    No, he said it wasn't a good reason.  No "enough".

Message-ID: <[🔎] 20030807162317.GB22984@doc.ic.ac.uk>
"TBH, that's a lousy reason to join Debian. Send a cheque or something."

> His point, I think, was that you should have a desire to _do_ something in
> particular, whether or not you are a "Debian developer".

    That would be the part where the original poster says "and wants to
contribute".  IE, they think Debian is a good group with ideals worth working
towards *and* wants to contribute.

> Is your goal to be a Debian developer, and you're willing to do some work in
> order to be accepted into the project?  Or is your goal to get some useful
> work done, in which case being an official developer is just a convenience?

    Am I the only one who sees those as one and the same?  To become a
developer you get work done.  The desire to get work done comes from wanting
to contribute.  Wanting to contribute comes from liking Debian.  

> For meaningful values of "contribute", sure. But being a project member
> with a d.o account is not essential to contributing, and its arguable
> how significant a "contribution" it is to just maintain a few packages
> when Debian is so big already (unless they're important packages, in
> which case it seems you are more likely to get through the NM process
> quickly). 

    But the whole point of different people maintaining different packages,
even the "unimportant" ones (Sorry, but most of the packages installed on my
machine are important to *me*) is so that a small base of people doesn't need
to maintain an absurd number of packages themselves.  

    Even here, though, there seems to be some division within Debian.  It
comes back to the two faces Debian presents of shunning people for not
contributing but shunning them if they attempt to.  You place importance of
maintaining "just a few packages", right?  Yet in this thread (and many like
it over the years) time and again the other point driven home is that people
should not maintain something they are not actively using, at a minimum, or on
the outside something they are incapable of maintaining.  

    Not everyone can maintain or help out on the "important" packages but they
can keep the larger bulk of things in line.  They should not be shunned
because they don't have years upon years of packaging experience.  Of course
they don't.  That's the whole point of *NEW* maintainers, is it not?

> I don't deny that the sponsorship requirement for non-developers is
> annoying,

    It shouldn't be.  If Debian really wants maintain a division between
"people who contribute by packaging a few 'unimportant' packages" and
"Maintainers" there are a few things they should do.

1: Get some verbage in there.  I maintain a package.  To me it seems logical I
should go through the new "maintainer" process.  But that gets me to be a
Debian... Developer.  Call it the new Developer process.  Separate out
maintainers (those who maintain packages) vs developers (those who actively
develop Debian *and* maintain its core, er, important packages).

2: Set up a formal group that does nothing but sponsor.  Their main goal is to
sponsor non-core, non-developer packages.

3: Have the Developers look over their package list and seriously ask
themselves if they must maintain everything on that list or if a non-developer
maintainer could just as easily do the work.  If so have a reverse process
from the sponsor process.  We have RFS, why not RFM?  IE, "Here's a package I
am willing to sponsor, who will maintain it?"

> but if worse comes to worst, you can simply set up your own
> repository and Bugzilla somewhere and publicize its location for the benefit
> of those users who want your packages. 

    This, of course, is contrary to the responses of many d.o holders who cite
this practice as one of the evils of RPM and why Debian is superior.  Because
of its centrally maintained repository.

> The NM process, viewed from the outside (and I'm on the outside too),
> looks like quite a mess. I dislike the obvious dishonesty of the project
> having a documented process for new maintainers, important aspects of
> which are ignored by the people responsible for running it. That this is
> excused by various other project members is rather sad.

    I dislike the fact that the project is willing to be open about its bugs,
open about the process when it comes to software and documentation but is
closed about the processes of running the project.  People here have said that
why a NM applicant is in limbo is not a matter of public concern.  I feel that
item 3 of the Social Contract applies.

We Won't Hide Problems 

We will keep our entire bug-report database open for public view at all times.
Reports that users file on-line will immediately become visible to others.

    Yes, it specifically mentions the bug-database in the verbose explanation
but the summation says it all.  "We won't hide problems."  If someone stuck in
limbo on the NM process obviously there's a problem on one end or the other. 
To say that the project will be open with its bugs but keep another process
closed seems a tad hypocritical.

         Steve C. Lamb         | I'm your priest, I'm your shrink, I'm your
       PGP Key: 8B6E99C5       | main connection to the switchboard of souls.
	                       |    -- Lenny Nero - Strange Days

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