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Re: Thoughts on Debian quality, including automated testing

On Wed, Dec 21, 2005 at 11:17:43PM +0100, Thomas Hood wrote:
> If the problem is lack of motivation,
> and the chief motivator is a sense of responsibility, then you don't want
> to diffuse that.

Specifically motivation to do *this* task, rather than any of the
others in the pile that need doing. People who maintain significant
packages tend to be busy. Their reason for doing one thing over
another will be primarily dependent on what they want to do, and what
they feel they *should* do.

> > We would all be much worse off with the abolition of individual
> > responsibility.
> The constitution already abolished it -- at least, if you interpret
> article 2.1 the way some people have.

I consider 'individual responsibility' to be a matter of personal
ethics, not enforced punishment. We do have a few morally bankrupt
maintainers (or, non-maintainers). I think the majority of developers
have some sense of responsibility, though. This belief is primarily
founded on the fact that I don't think Debian could have survived this
long at this size without it.

> Maybe it would be useful to reinforce a sense of responsibility in Debian.

You can't reinforce or enforce ethics - attempting to do so merely
gives you obedience, or a herd mentality. And I don't think that a
blame culture will accomplish anything.

On the other hand, I think there might be some benefit to requiring
that the Maintainer field must always denote one single Debian
developer, who would be the "buck stops here" guy for that
package. Not an applicant, not a mailing list, and not a group of
people. I believe the tools have now advanced to the point where this
is a practical option.

In general you're always far better off forcing every *change* to a
given component to go through a single individual. Large projects need
a pumpking, because dogpiling creates lousy software. For Debian this
would be cumbersome and unwieldy as a rule, but some high-importance
tasks could benefit from it.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
   `-             -><-          |

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