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Re: irc.debian.org



Firstly, let me apologize if this comes out-of-thread in $MUA. I'm not
subscribed to -project, and am only reading off the archives after
checking out the bitchfight in #d-d. ;)

Thus, please CC: me on replies.

Anyway. I was an OPN staff member for 3-4 months (I honestly can't
remember exactly how long), and left to join a disgruntled group of
ex-OPN staffers that would later make up OFTC. I was with OFTC for about
8 months, before its core committee asked me to leave (but more on that
later). Indeed, I'm as much a "founding member" as David "cdlu" Graham,
and David "ElectricElf" Harris.

I think that a move to OFTC would be somewhat counterproductive to
Debian. Many people go around screaming "OPN iz da k4b4l d00d!!". And
they're correct, it is. ElectricElf's assertions that lilo once
threatened to shut down the network are entirely correct; I've seen the
log (a tarball of a couple of damaging logs was distributed as a "new
members' pack", back in the day). As someone (whom I have forgotten,
apologies if it was you) said: "OPN: We redefine Open. Come check us
out!".

However, that doesn't mean OFTC is any better. If you read through David
G's email that reads more like a press release than anything, and cut
through all the layers of double-talk and manager-speak, you'll see one
alarming word: pseudo-democratic. He talks about the staff choosing new
people "among themselves".

Indeed, read the constitution:
3. Voting
3a. Eligibility and Candidates
 Voters in elections shall be limited to members of Staff who have
 served a minimum of three months. Also, a member of Staff may only be
 eligible if they have received no more than one reprimand from the
 Ombudsman since the previous election. 
 All voters shall also be candidates. There are no nominations. Any
 voter may elect any other voter for any position. A voter must also
 vote themselves into some position. 

So, basically, instead of having a cabal of 1, OFTC have gone the
obviously far superior route of having a cabal of 16.

(Interesting aside: I was banned from #moocows, OFTC's "official social
 channel" for a while, because I kept pointing out this very point
 whenever an OFTC staffer rambled about OFTC being open and democratic.
 They claimed it was going to be changed ASAP, but that was some months
 ago, and cdlu's email doesn't show any sign of wanting to change. Once
 people get power, sometimes they just don't want to let go).

OFTC is also technically immature. I was involved with setting up
various scripts et al for the servers at some point, and it's a rather
hairy, ad-hoc setup. At the time, basically no-one knew what was going
on with any of the servers. Recently, all of OFTC's DNS disappeared,
because its major sponsor (terrabox.com) had severe difficulties, and
OFTC didn't have an adequate backup DNS system.

I won't run away from my point about OFTC being a "cabal", either. One
day, as I was lazily poking about on IRC, cdlu /msg'ed me. I knew from
the fact that he was even talking to me, instead of talking about me
behind my back, that I was sacked, so effective is the communication
between cdlu and staff. Core committee/NOC/whatever they're called this
week, decided to sack me from my position as a network representative
for "misrepresenting the network". How I did this, I'll never know; the
only people I told about OFTC were staff/server sponsors I recruited
early on. Apparently, I misrepresented it to its staff (!), but I
couldn't cut through cdlu's "suit speak" well enough to tell.
Interestingly, no-one bothered to even tell me core were considering
sacking me, despite everyone having the agenda a couple of days before
the meeting, which was about a week before I was told>

(Aside 2: I was elected to the position of Network Operator, narrowly
 missing out on Core Committee/whatever. I later resigned from OFTC
 during a very difficult period in my life involving three consecutive
 145-hour weeks, being dumped by my girlfriend, and other various
 things. I later came back, and was grudgingly put into the position of
 Network Representative [i.e. #oftc monkey, and the grudging was on
 their side, not mine]).

Secondly, not everyone in #debian* IRCs on "irc.debian.org", whatever
that may point to. A lot of people explicitly connect to an OPN server,
because they have a closer server than rotation, they want to use IPv6,
or whatever. The conversion won't just be clean-cut (doubly so if you
consider DNS TTL issues), it'll be rather hairy.

Some people might think I'm bitter because of my bad experiences with
OFTC and its "leadership". I'm not really that bitter and hung up about
it, but I've seen it from day 1, right up until they launched (it was
still basically private when I was sacked, hence my being mystified at
the "reason" for my being sacked).

OFTC have also painted themselves as being very kind and nice. This is
not, however, true. For a while, #iamacow (the disgruntled group of OPN
admins before we decided to form a new network) toyed seriously with the
idea of making a hostile takeover of OPN; ElectricElf and cdlu also
seriously floated the idea of putting pressure on lilo's creditors to
force him to repay his loans, hence sinking OPN. Thankfully, neither of
those strategies came to the fore.

I just think that moving to OFTC would be a bad and very ill-considered
move. I think Debian should stay on OPN because OFTC is in so grave a
situation. It could even start its own network; I would gladly volunteer
to help with that.Those of you who have seen me stoush with Andrew Suffield
know that I think he's a complete tool and generally reject out-of-hand
anything he has to say because it's bullshit, but (most of) his mail is
right wrt OPN and OFTC (for the record, I think the donation requests
are both spam and an abuse of network resources). It's also worth noting
that I'm not (and never was) a Developer, so feel free to take my
opinion with as little a grain of salt as you like.

-d

(PS: Excuse me if this rambles a bit. I didn't really map it out before
 I wrote it, as I usually do for longer emails, and I was reading the
 thread while doing so, so a lot of it is incidental "oh, and while I'm
 here" comments).

-- 
Daniel Stone	   <daniel@raging.dropbear.id.au>   http://raging.dropbear.id.au
KDE Developer	   <dstone@kde.org>	                      http://www.kde.org
Kopete: Multi-protocol IM client	    		   http://kopete.kde.org

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