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Re: MIPS port backlog, autobuilder machines and some arrogance

On Tue, Nov 18, 2003 at 06:18:53PM +0100, Josip Rodin wrote:
> > > So, basically what you're saying that it's hard, and that nobody should be
> > > allowed to comment on it because the already delegated people are, what?
> > > Perfect? Self-sufficient? Incapable of changing their ways?
> > No, I'm saying that nobody who's incapable of assisting with solving the
> > problem should be expounding on it. [...]
> Note that I'm not talking about the buildd issue, but only about the
> hardware-donations@d.o thing. I believed that my quoting in the original
> indicated that; if not, I'm sorry.

See, that's one of the problems with writing in generalities; they apply
to lots of cases, and don't really help any of them.

> And to answer, yes, I believe I can back up what I said on the topic.
> Perhaps there are some intricate details in the system of how donations
> are processed, but I rather doubt that it isn't something that a developer
> like myself could handle, provided one is diligent enough. 

I'm sure there aren't. I'm sure lots of people could handle the work
involved in keyring-maint, web maintenance, and maintainership of most
of the packages Debian, too. But that doesn't make it trivial to add
redundancy in any of these areas; because, again, if it were, it would
already have been done.

There are generic problems here: since we can't offer any real
compensation for people doing the work, we have to find someone who
thinks it's more fun or more important than anything else they could be
doing. We also have to make sure that their work doesn't conflict with
Mako's work and that we can avoid too many negative repurcussions from
inconsistencies. We also have to make sure the people involved know when
they should be acting and when they should leave it for someone else,
otherwise you can end up with no one doing anything, or with people
getting irritated at having wasted their time redoing something someone
else has already done.

The real question is how big the problems are that could be fixed by more
redundancy, and how much pain the generic problems listed above are *in
the specific case*. It might be really easy to get more people doing the
hardware donations thing; but given that it hasn't happened already, that
doesn't seem terribly likely. It might be that there are lots of hardware
donations that could be usefully used that aren't making their way to
Debian, but that doesn't seem really likely either from what I can see.

> > Again, I never accused you of not knowing anything about this. I said
> > that your post didn't demonstrate any knowledge -- "more redundancy is
> > good" isn't any more helpful than "too many cooks spoil the broth", or
> > "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush".
> > 
> > All those things are true, and can be a useful starting point for
> > thinking about problems that show up; but they're a starting point only,
> > and mindlessly repeating them at people who are already well aware of
> > the cliches isn't helpful.
> I'm not mindlessly repeating it, nor am I convinced that the people are
> already well aware of them (most probably aware of the principle, but
> obviously not in the specific case). 

*blink* So you're claiming that Martin's lying when he says "I'm well
aware that redundancy has several benefits" ?

> my "expounding" on the "cliche" was supposed to be a simple, clear reminder.

] Since you're posting that as the DPL you're asking for the following
] reply. Sorry :)
] It's been proven plenty of times that whenever we have task depend on a
] single person doing it, the lack of redundancy comes back and bites us in
] the ass whenever there's the slightest bit of a problem.

That doesn't sound like a reminder to me; it sounds like you're saying
that the DPL hasn't been doing his job. 

But unfortunately you apparently *don't* know the details of what
you're talking about; otherwise presumably you'd have known that Mako
and "another developer" are "working on a system which will allow them
to coordinate this task". And that pretty much means you shouldn't be

Finding out what's already been done, doing something to move things
along, going into detail to help people work through problems that they
don't see solutions to -- all those things are valuable. Repeating things
that everyone knows to be true isn't.

> > > And there you again. You seem rather inclined to judge other people's
> > > competence based on, well, I've no idea on what do you base these claims on.
> > Well, an obvious guess would be the posts you've just made. You know,
> > the ones I was criticising as being trite and uninformative, while
> > pretending at being of profound importance?
> Stop accusing me of reading too much into what you wrote 

Err, didn't I just accuse you of not reading *enough* into what I
wrote? Or even just not reading what I wrote?

By the way, I mentioned that ad hominem attacks are where you say "this
person cannot be trusted (because he's evil/stupid/whatever) and thus you
should ignore everything he says", and that saying "the things this person
has said are stupid, therefore this person is a fool" is just an insult.
I feel obliged to add that saying "the things this person has said are
stupid" is just criticism -- it's fair to be very wary of ad hominem
arguments, and it's fair to consider insults impolite and unnecessary,
but being offended by criticism is unhealthy. While I'm certainly not
averse to a good insult, I don't think I've said anything that goes
beyond criticism here.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

Australian DMCA (the Digital Agenda Amendments) Under Review!
	-- http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/blog/copyright/digitalagenda

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