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RFC: Changing the NM system


I want to suggest to change the way NM works.

Currently, someone applies at [1] and if he's lucky he has his account
less than 2 months after he applied.

My impression is that currently maintainers are accepted too early. For
some AMs it's enough that they build one package (and thanks to debhelper
it's relatively easy to build a package) and even if they make a buggy
package this is sometimes enough to pass the "Tasks & Skills" test (e.g.
in [2]). We have currently over 600 developers and at about 6000 packages
that have over 600 RC bugs. If we don't have severe look at the quality of
the work of new maintainers it will become very hard to retain our
reputation of being a high quality distribution.

Another important thing: We trust every single developer:
- We trust him when he signs the GPG key of a prospective developer.
- A developer can make an upload for every single package in Debian.
  We trust him that he doesn't do any harm.
- Every Debian developer represents Debian (e.g. at exhibitions).

And another small point: When we let people become developers very fast
it's more likely that someone who has the idea "I want to get a
@debian.org address" but doesn't want to do do long term work for Debian
becomes a member of Debian - and we get more packages whose maintainer is

I propose to stop the current NM process and to reorganize it.

I suggest the following instead (important is the general idea, not the
exact details):
Someone starts working for Debian (e.g. by maintaining packages or helping
at a port). After some months his sponsor, one of the port maintainers,...
(or wherever the applicant participates in Debian) says that he does good
work (e.g. high quality packages, quick reaction at bug reports,...) and
suggests to the NM team that he should become a Debian account. The NM
team (perhaps the current NM-Committee plus other interested Debian
developers) then looks critical at the work of the applicant, makes a
"Philosophy and Procedures" check,... and discusses and decides whether
the applicant will be a valuable gain for the project.
Additionally, we'll need a better organized sponsorship program to help
applicants to work for Debian.

I am willing to help at the reorganization and in the changed NM system
(although my QA work will have a higher priority).


[1] http://nm.debian.org
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint-discuss-0011/msg00103.html

A "No" uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a
"Yes" merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.
                -- Mahatma Ghandi

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