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Re: Volunteer-initiated team maintenance as a solution for packages with low activity

On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 01:10:42PM -0400, Michael Gilbert wrote:
> So anyway, enough explanation, on to my proposed solution.  Seeing as
> team spirit has been a quite effective antidote to stagnation, lets go
> ahead and use that again.  Here is my suggested process:

Nowhere in this process seems to be the notion that you should
contribute actual effort first before adding yourself as an uploader.  I
think that's important, particularly in the many situations where it's
not lack of packaging of a new upstream in question, but some other

I certainly don't object to having some way to break problematic
maintainer locks in general, but we should make sure that the
replacement doesn't amount to busybodies making noise for admin@alioth
when they aren't actually going to do a better job themselves.  In all
the cases where I've been involved in what turned out to be a productive
package takeover, the first step was always sending lots of patches
until it became clear that I was doing a better job than the current

> 9. After 6 months of steps 6 and 7, the interested volunteer can send
> a message to admin@alioth.debian.org including links and information
> about their work over those 6 months requesting to become a project
> admin
> Note that in step 3, if the existing maintainer disagrees with the
> alioth admin approval of the volunteer, he should not be allowed to
> directly override that.  He or she would need to make a case to the
> alioth admins that the new volunteer has been doing problematic things
> and deserves to be removed; otherwise he or she could continue to
> block work on the package.

alioth is just a Debian-specific hosting site, not a general gateway to
package maintenance.  We're not set up for them to be dispute resolution
for the whole of Debian, and they have no constitutional authority to do
that anyway.  De-emphasising the role of alioth administration in the
whole of this would be a good thing, I think; ownership of the alioth
project is often not that desperately important in practice.

> I know processes within Debian are often seen as bad, but I believe
> this one is good (or at least better) because it replaces an existing
> negatively perceived top-down process with a self-directed organic one
> (i.e. may the best work win).

OK, so remove the top-down bit where admin@alioth has to decide stuff
about who gets to be a maintainer.


Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson@debian.org]

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