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Fwd: Debian New Maintainer Rejection [Nathanael Nerode]

  Nathanael C. Nerode

----- Original message -----
From: "Joerg Jaspert" <joerg@debian.org>
To: nm-committee@nm.debian.org
Cc: "Nathanael Nerode" <neroden@fastmail.fm>
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2007 01:24:39 +0100
Subject: Debian New Maintainer Rejection [Nathanael Nerode]


I'm sorry to report that I've decided to reject the application of
Nathanael Nerode.  This is a strong rejection according to the
guidelines outlined in [1].

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint/2003/10/msg00001.html

First let me make clear that I'm *not* rejecting him because "I don't
like him" or something similar. I don't have enough to do with him to
have a big bad feeling against him. So this is nothing personal, this is
my opinion as one of Debians Account Managers, which I got after reading
his report and all those mails individual Developers sent in to me, as
well as looking for his activities on Debian lists/bugreports.

More detailed reasoning:

I do not believe Nathanael would fit well into Debian. While he
has the technical skills, proven in the report his AM sent in, I do
believe he lacks on the social site to live and work in such a large
project like Debian is. Of course we do have lots of existing Developers
with a similar problem, but that doesn't mean we should add more,
instead we should address the existing problem.

Looking at the areas Nathanael listed for his AM, most of them do not
need an account. Lets look at some in more detail:

 - QA work. Here he files bugs, submits patches and asks for package
   removals. While this is something good and appreciated, none of this
   requires an account. Ok, sometimes an NMU may be easier if one
   doesn't have to ask a sponsor, but from what I can recall there
   hasn't been much happening on that front from him. (Yes, you can
   NMU/prepare them even without being a DD).

 - He mentioned occasional release management assistance. His AM asked
   Steve as release manager about this, his reply is attached below as

 - There is also "There is also "Help in tracking down bugs and
   determining solutions", "Miscellaneous cleanup work", ""Sanitizing"
   packages." and help on debian-legal. Having an account makes no
   difference for these.

Nathanael also states that he wants the "membership and voting rights in
a community I was already doing a lot for". This is the most valid
reason for which I would give him an account, but did not happen to
outweigh the negative amount I fear will happen. But splitting accounts
up into multiple stages, like upload rights, voting rights, machine
accounts is something we need to face in future, but this will take lots
of time.

Now, for the mails people sent in that I mentioned earlier:

The first is from a Developer who did not want his name to show up:
I've noticed Nathanael Nerode's NM report. I'm a little uneasy about
him, to be honest... 
My main issue has to be his record on d-legal. His social skills seem to
be a little lacking, and that's something that worries me.
just thought I'd let you know...
I'd rather keep this private if possible...

Martin Wuertele, maxx, sent the following in:
Given his intolerant involvement in the firmware discussion and his
query for a "Procedure for expelling developers for violating Social
Contract?" I strongly oppose Nathanaels application. 

It is good if someone shows engagement and unerlines his arguments but
if they have now tolerance towards other opinions and block every
progress that does not fully meet their believe I don't think they 
help the project, free software or our users.

Anthony Towns sent one in in 2004 already, even before Nathanael
applied. It was about two possible-NMs, thats why I deleted the one
quote from the other:
While ttbomk neither have applied yet, I don't believe it's appropriate
for new-maintainers to be placing conditions on their applications,
nor in Debian's interests to accept such conditions.

[a quote that only applies to the other NM, so deleted]

I think Nathanael has demonstrated he doesn't have the temprement to
within Debian in a productive fashion.

Andreas Barth sent in the following statement:
the cited message, together with other mails make me wonder if Nathanael
is really a positive factor to Debian currently. For some context, near
to this mail he sent another with claiming different people break the
social contract - see e.g.

I think that Debian Developers should work together, and not try to
force other Developers their opinion on. Of course, there might be
situations where some force might be needed, and the constitution even
says how this can happen, but I don't think the kernel firmware issue
was in a state where even the developers all agreed how the situation
should be handled (or even, how to read the DFSG there) - and I don't
perceive the DFSG as a stick to beat other people with, but as a very
important and helpful set of guidelines for our work. (Of course,
everything would be different if there is a GR asking some people for a
certain course of action, and people just ignore the GR - but this is
not what happend here.)

So, summary, I doubt Nathanael has the right approach to be part of a
team (or community, if this word sounds better). It might be that he
learns how to be more constructive later on (and on a strictly personal
basis, I wish him much success there), but I doubt he has the social
skills to become a Debian Developer now.

----- Forwarded message from Nathanael Nerode
<neroden@drizzle.astro.cornell.edu> -----

From: Nathanael Nerode <neroden@drizzle.astro.cornell.edu>
To: debian-project@lists.debian.org
Subject: Procedure for expelling developers for violating Social
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2006 13:31:09 -0400
Message-ID: <20060803173109.GA5739@drizzle.astro.cornell.edu>
Resent-Sender: debian-project-request@lists.debian.org
Resent-Date: Thu,  3 Aug 2006 12:54:30 -0500 (CDT)

Is there one?  I think there needs to be.

A reply on -newmaint to the AM report contained:
> 2. Philosophy and Procedures
> ----------------------------
> Nathanael has a broad understanding of Debian's philosophy and
> procedures.  

Nathanael has in the past repeatedly shown very agressive behaviour
towards Debian Developers on the lists, something which in my humble
optinion is not in line with Debian's philosophy and procedures.  Did
you take this into account/consideration when evaluating his

URL: http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint/2006/06/msg00024.html


His own AM once had the following (yes, in 2004 and people may change,
just to be complete):
>   My subscription seems to have been accidentally changed from
> debian-devel to debian-nm-buildd-flamewars, is something wrong with
> murphy? :-P

Just killfile Nathanael Nerode and Goswin von Brederlow and everything
will return to normal.

URL: http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2004/02/msg01173.html


Of course I wont hide positive statements, there just haven't been as
many. One is from Josselin Mouette:
As some people are currently publicly questioning the qualities of
Nathanael Nerode as a new maintainer, I feel obliged to reaffirm he is
one of the kind we need in the Project. If it was only for the amount of
time he spends finding ways - both social and technical - to keep key
parts of the distribution DFSG-free, he deserves becoming a Debian

The fact he is spending time in open discussions on mailing lists,
without restraining himself to political correctness, should be seen as
a quality and not a flaw. (Well, with an exception for his tendency for
breaking threads.)

and another from David Nusinow:
I know that Nathanael's application is fairly controversial in some
but he did help significantly with the work getting Xorg 6.8 ready for
unstable. I found him surprisingly easy to work with during this period
we, as well as others, managed to get a lot done in that time. This
at least, should be seen as an unqualified positive on his record.

 - David Nusinow

URL: http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint/2006/06/msg00025.html


Now, after all those statements people sent in, lets use google a
bit. There is [3] and in the same timeframe you can find more, spread
over various lists, from -devel to -project and -vote, like [4] and also
[5] recently.

[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2004/05/msg00031.html
    While the poster used some hard language in this post it shows where
    it comes from.

[4] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/03/msg00619.html

[5] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2006/12/msg00783.html

Nathanael: This reject is private (only you and the nm-committee can
it), we wont make it public - except you ask for it or do it yourself.


[2] Reply from Steve to Brian talking about Nathanaels involvment in
    release things

> I'm Nathanael Nerode's AM, and he's expressed an interest in helping
> with the release process as part of his contribution to Debian.  I know
> he's been quite active on debian-release recently--have you found his
> involvement helpful and productive?  Do you have any other comments to
> make that would be relevant to his NM report?

I wish that I could give you a ringing endorsement of Nathanael as a
candidate DD, but I don't feel that I can.  While it's true that he has
a help from time to time in the release team's work, I have also often
him interact with others in a brusque, arrogant, or insulting fashion --
>From his attacks on the character of Anthony Towns (then RM) during the
documentation vote debacle, to this thread
<http://lists.debian.org/debian-release/2005/10/msg00046.html> in which
accuses various people of being derelict because he was not in the loop
on a
bug that the release team, the toolchain maintainers, the affected
and various upstream folk were well familiar with.  It is this latter
pattern of hostility that has left the most lasting impression on me
and, I
expect, on most people who encounter it; and I don't think this is a
characteristic that's compatible with being a representative of the
team.  This does seem to be less of an occurrence lately than in the
but I don't know whether this represents a lasting change.

Also, I would note that his participation in debian-release seems to
been focused on analysis of testing transitions and recommending policy
the release team.  Being able to interpret britney output is a useful
but it's hardly the area that the release team is most in need of
for; and I'm certainly not looking for more people to set release
for me...  What would be much more helpful is to work with maintainers
resolve RC bugs, either by providing patches or by recommending package
removals to the ftpmasters and/or QA team.  I've seen a fair amount of
>From Nathanael in this last area, but I can recall precious little in
way of actual bugfixes I've seen him submit.  As with most NMs (and
DDs!), I
would welcome seeing more involvement from him on that front.

Feel free to share these comments with him if you think they're
important/appropriate.  Anyway, nothing I've said should be construed as
objection to his overall NM candidacy.  On many levels he's certainly as
qualified as a large number of existing developers, I just don't believe
that from the standpoint of involvement in the project, participation in
debian-release list is much of a qualification.  So I hope that he's
involved (or gets involved!) in areas of the project where I haven't
his activity.


bye Joerg
> commited with the quality of our system (and project), it is all very
> connected: Freedom <-> Users <-> Quality <-> Transparency <-> Freedom.
This looks like a consulting schema

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