- To: email@example.com
- Subject: debian culture
- From: Glenn McGrath <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 10:40:28 +1000
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- References: <410A4185.email@example.com> <20040730132854.GI14017@zanclid.redellipse.net> <20040731213450.GC11120@yiwaz.raw.no> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <20040801101045.GB9173@grep.be> <email@example.com>
(Reflecting on debians culture of flaming, mindshare and our structure,
inspired by a -private thread)
I used to hold individual developers accountable for percieved problems
within debian. However, im starting to realise those individuals are
only partly to blame, its debians culture thats warped them.
When a NM joins i doubt he realises the self-destructive "mindshare"
battle that goes on within debian.
Debian is more a "team of champions" than a "champion team". As
individual developers we only have a narrow scope to improve debian, it
is relatively difficult to change something that isnt your
To change something that isnt your responsibility you have to either
directly convince the person who is responible to change something, or
get into a "mindshare" battle (aka flamefest) on -devel, get a rough
concensus there and try and guilt the person responsible into changing
There is a saying "he who makes the most noise gets the most done" (they
only think they are getting things done).
Many times an issue been brought up on -devel its argued on devel till
one side spits the dummy in frustration, the side that outlasts
percieves they have won, 6 months down the track the lossing side plucks
up some more courage to bring the topic up again, an endless cycle.
Flaming is an efficient way to win "mindshare", make a lot of noise,
anoy the hell out of everyone who disagrees with you, your view outlasts
If the person responsible for the area being debated doesnt participate
in the flamefest, they are percieved to be ignoring their
responsabilities and they get flamed for not participating in the
We have poor communications, its not a constructive team environment.
Groups of 6 to 8 have been proven to be the most effective from a
teamwork perspective, debian is structured to be a single group of 800
people, it makes it hard.
The DPL and the technical committee are the only ones who have broad
powers, i think debian has a kind of power vaccum, we do have a leader
(i dont think the technical committee is very active), but its
a hard job for anyone to directly lead a group of 800 volunteers.
Perhaps debian needs structural change, Lieutenants ?