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Re: removal of svenl from the project

Replying to this since it is addressed to me personally.

On Thu, Mar 16, 2006 at 01:48:17AM -0800, Steve Langasek wrote:
> Do you understand that the fact that you *do* reply to every single message
> in a thread is something that makes people not want to deal with you?
> Nobody wants to try to have a discussion with somebody who is going to
> insist on having the last word.  It's easier to ignore you and put up with

Well, you are perfectly right, it just happens that there are others who have
exactly the same problem, and which you have no trouble at all with. Manoj and
Jonas being two of those, and i never saw a single comment asking them to not
do this, but i am told, so two weights two measures ? 

> > What Andres is reproaching me, is that i was too vocal in my disput with jonas
> > (and some previous disputes also with some others), and there he is right. I
> > was at a level of frustration which made me so irrational i used some (too)
> > strong words speaking to jonas and later vorlon. I notice though that jonas
> > called me names too previously, but i am trully baffled about the issue with
> > vorlon, since, maybe due to english not being my native tongue, it was
> > interpreted as badly, i meant that as mostly in a joking tone, altough i
> > failed to add a smiley or something (he was speaking about me and jonas, i
> > asked him a question about it and he left, so i said something like "bah,
> > coward", which i really really was not thinking could offend someone, and if
> > so i apologize for it).
> For the benefit of those not on #debian-kernel, here's the full sequence of
> events:
> - I left the channel last week because it had been taken over by the inane
>   bickering between Sven and Jonas.  Since I already had a front row seat to
>   this on debian-ctte, I didn't need to see more of the same on IRC.
> - I re-joined the channel yesterday after the TC bug had been resolved.
> - I asked whether I had missed anything, and was informed that Sven and
>   Jonas were now arguing over *proper changelog crediting* of the TC fix.

Yeah. I think you are misjudging the gravity of this fact though. We are all
volunteers and proper credit is an important point.

Furthermore, jonas had been spreading lies and inexactitude about the problem
during the whole conversation, and he ended up being wrong. I was the one who
did the code analysis and proof (confirmed by jurij afterward), i strongly
belief that without this mess we would still not know about the fundamental
problem of this bug, it has been there bitting us since november or earlier,
and the bug has been open since december, with one month at RC level with
patch without attracting a single comment.

So, i believe it is important that the truth be told, that the bug was solved
in big part because of the work *I* did, and that nobody would have moved if
i hadn't. This doesn't excuses my behavior, but it is an important fact to
know for understanding why i snapped. 

> - I made a smartass comment about the possibility of the changelog issue
>   also being reassigned to the TC, and a subsequent need to request
>   reimbursement from SPI for some artillery.
> - Sven made the accusatory comment that Andres quoted in his original mail.
> - I took this as a sign that the #debian-kernel channel S/N ratio had not
>   improved, and left unceremoniously.
> I was not offended to know that Sven called me a coward, whether in jest or
> not; I think it's healthy for us to all have friends in the community that
> we can vent to when we're frustrated about dealing with other developers,
> and make comments to that we wouldn't make to those other developers' faces.
> I only regret that Sven misjudged how sympathetic the audience was that he
> made this comment to.

Well, indeed, i misjudged severly how welcome my contribution is, and i also
learned who the people on the channel are, who i can count on if i am having
some trouble, and who will jump on me at the first oportunity as a pack of

I seriously don't understand Andres reaction though, i never did anything
against him i supported him when he snapped and went out on his public ranting
against the DAM and the security team, and the first of his i heard on this
issue was a post quoting me to debian-vote.

> But Sven, I really can't understand how you would think your *first* comment
> could be taken as a joke, when it suggests exactly the same sort of
> polarizing, with-me-or-against-me personalization that seems to happen so
> often in discussions with you.  After just getting done with the frustration
> of trying to mediate the yaird issue between you and Jonas as part of the
> TC, during which you were *repeatedly* asked to refrain from personal

Ah, there was a mediation ? I didn't see that. I thought the issue was solved,
because i was able to convince the world without doubt that there was no way
the bug could persist, and Jurij and other confirmed the issue afterward.

> attacks, the last thing I wanted was to get pulled into the middle of
> another personal dispute between you two over something as *minor* as credit
> in a changelog entry.

See above for the minor part of it.

> The personal attacks being sent to debian-ctte were such a distraction from
> the technical discussion that it even led Ian Jackson to suggest ruling
> against you only on the grounds that you were being uncooperative! Do you

Thanks very much. While reading the 4 mails to the bug report would have been
enough to rule on this, mails you should (and had) read as RM already even.

> understand that this is *not* an uncommon sentiment, and that being
> confrontational and combative does bias people against you no matter how
> correct your technical arguments may be?

Yeah, i also know something else.

If i had taken and unconfrontational approach, we would never have solved the
ramdisk generator issue as we did, and we would never have managed the
same-day kernel releases which i believe is something the kernel team can be
proud of, but nobody except me believed possible back then.

I had to go through manoj and jonas uncooperativeness back then, and very few
supported me, but it was the only way to get things done and break the
immobilism of some of the key players in it.

The issue is the same here. I let the bug be open for a month, and i tried to
speak to jonas in person after the good experience of working with frans in
extremadura, then i let 2 more month pass, and nothing happened, at the same
time the ide-generic issue was still mysterious and unsolved and you self
where complaining about it, and this since over 4 month, while nobody took the
trouble to look at the actual code and making wild unfunded theories.

> Do you realize that the only reason I was personally able to overcome this
> bias in the TC discussion was that a) I felt a duty to do so as a member of
> the technical committee, and b) I was aware of Jonas's own combative role in
> the kernel team?  (Yes, criticizing you for being off-topic does *not* imply
> taking Jonas's side in the argument!)

So, why did nobody tell something about it, why do i get all the bashing ? Why
did you stand by and let this happen ? I believe in a real-world situation,
this would not have come to pass like that.

> > I commented that this was not correct, which lead to Andres asking for my
> > removal.
> Er... which brings us to another problem that makes me (and others) not want
> to deal with you: gross mischaracterization of others' positions.  Why would
> you conclude that Andres did this because you "commented that this was not
> correct"?  He gave his reasons for the request, and factual corrections were
> certainly not mentioned there.

Ok, well, i take back this one and let anyone judge andres's actions, I am
utterly at a loss to interpret why he acted such ?

> Other examples of judgemental, unsubstantiated assertions about people's
> "true" motives, just from this thread:
> > Yeah, well. I waited almost three month for something to happen on that bug
> > report, and nothing ever came of it. I also note that jonas is not excempt
> > from the fault, and that other had had trouble dealing with him, even if you
> > didn't know that when you made your hasty judgement.
> Why do you think this is a hasty judgement?  Andres himself has said he
> thought about this for a long time.

Because it was hasty. It came what, 5 minutes after the comment was made, i
never even knew he felt that way before he posted to debian-vote the first
time, which i believe was worse than anything i ever said.

> > >     - I've seen him several times reject good or even optimum solutions
> > >       to problems, upon which a fair number of other people agreed, just
> > >       for them going against his own personal agenda; which is, oook,
> > >       something not so uncommon in this project, albeit very very
> > >       undesirable.
> > please provide backing for this diffamation, especially the accusation of not
> > having the best of debian in mind, but a personal agenda.
> Why do you view it as a defamation to say that you have a personal agenda?
> Why do you think having a personal agenda conflicts with having Debian's
> best interest in mind?  I know I have a personal agenda; I sometimes have to

Because it gives the impression that i made choices not based on the best for
debian or our users, but because of some personal hidden agenda. This is a
grave accusation, and well, i believe, but my english may be at fault, that it
indeed fits the definition of defamation.

> choose between my personal goals in Debian, and what I think is best for the
> project as a whole, because I don't have infinite time to spend on
> everything I want to.  Why should I feel insulted when someone says I have a
> personal agenda when I know that I still have Debian's best interests at
> heart, even when I have a different idea of what those best interests are
> than someone else might?

Yeah, and what if people that disagreed with you accused you publicly of doing
this to follow your own agenda ? This is a grave accusation, and one i believe
i am innocent of, and is unjust given what i have done for debian. It means
all the sacrifice and effort i made to help out people that needed help are
now suddenly selffish furthering of my own private agenda, it means, like
other have claimed, that my sole interest in debian is because i do work for
genesi which has an interest in having the powerpc port working, and discounts
the numerous time and effort i invested to help out people where i could
benefit none at all.

This means that all the 8 years i gave to debian, the uncountable hours,
sometimes even putting aside things i could have done in my personal or work
live to help out are suddenly dismissed for these accusations of selfish
hidden agenda. This is the worst thing you can say to a volunteer.

This is also a thing that if others more 'respected' members had acted such,
they would be applauded for it, but since it is just me, it is "very very

Finally, there is an accusation without proof that i did reject good and even
optimum solutions out of sheer stuborness, whitout any kind of proof, while
this is exactly the thing i reproach jonas on this issue. And i did give him 3
month of time to consider it.

> Do you think that filing critical bugs against make-kpkg whenever it breaks
> Pegasos systems, and accusing the make-kpkg maintainer of misdeed when they

Err, do you think that having a bug in kernel-package, which means that all
powerpc kernels (not only pegasos) did suddenly not only become uninstallable,
but left the dpkg database in a broken state that stopped all further upgrades
without hand intervention on the dpkg database itself, is not a RC bug ? 

Well, if so, i seriously question your skill as a RM.

Fruthermore the above is another example of the problem here, you are
misinterpreting the reality, and make accusations against me to dismiss my
complaints which are unfunded. I believe you would have done exactly the same
where you in my place.

> aren't fixed immediately, is in the best interest of Debian?  Do you think
> it's a coincidence that most people who don't work on Pegasos systems
> disagree with you about some of these bug severities?

I think they just don't care because it doesn't affect them personally. but
the above case affected all powerpc kernels, not just pegasos, and the bugs
where coming in in rapid procession, of bewildered users having their apt
database broken by an upgrade.

I even noticed the problem before it was too late, and asked the ftp-masters
to remove the package before it could enter the archive, but you know, i have
no credibility, and am mostly to be ignored.

I also have to say that i worked with Manoj on this issue the sylvester
evening and most of new year, and that finally it did get solved to everyone's
satisfaction, but no, you don't see that, you only see the untruth you quoted

> > Notice also that i am still expecting excuses on how you threated me in april
> > last year, when i almost was brought to leave the project due to the abuse i
> > got at the time, but i really am not expecting them anymore. Ever since i have
> > questioned my involvement in debian, and after 8 years of participation, i
> > have to say that issues got worse and worse the last year since a few of you
> > guys used me as scapegoat to vent all their frustration on the delayed sarge
> > release.
> Until you actually refute the evidence presented in
> <http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2005/04/msg00199.html> showing that
> the lack of transition in d-i to the kernel-latest packages for powerpc, and
> the subsequent delays in the d-i release candidate, were *not* the fault of
> the ftpmasters, I think that's the last word *I* have to say on that
> subject.  But when did anyone ever try to blame you for *all* frustration

Please find out the quote from joeyh, where he clearly stated :

  "you (sven) have singlehandedly delayed the sarge release by a whole week"

And furthermore you, kamion and joeyh, each coming at me in anger over a
simple and easy to fix mistake, with 3 hours interval, all charging like bulls
without even caring to consult between yourselves, and noticing that the
previous one to wake already did deliver the aggresive and unthinking lecture
to me.

I had worked a full week to make the powerpc 2.4 kernel ready for sarge, so it
built from a single package, and make the work of the security team post sarge
easier, and had to fight against kernel-package brokeness, and then, blam, i
am threated like shit.

> with the delayed sarge release?  Do you really think that it's wrong for
> people to point out when decisions you've made *do* cause delays to a team's
> schedule?

Well, i think so, i don't think it is correct the way you did it, nor the
words used, especially given what you are reproaching me now.

> I would appreciate it if you would think about these questions and answer
> them, and use this as an opportunity to improve your approach to conflicts
> in Debian so that some good comes out of this thread.

I think i have already improved my approach, i removed myself from most irc
channels, and don't read most mailing lists.

> I would appreciate it if others would consider how these observations apply
> to them as well.  I'm sure no one on this mailing list is perfect...

Thanks for the long reply, but please take time to read my comments too, and
you will understand how it is possible that all this happened, and where you
think things are a mild issue not worth it, but it lead to me snapping. There
is a limit to how you can handle a fellow human being, and altough this is
well understood in real life case, people often don't notice when someone is
snapping in this immaterial community we have, and unwillingly contribute to
worsen the problem.


Sven Luther
> -- 
> Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
> Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
> vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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