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Well, crap

Hey all,

Having downloaded the tally sheet [0], and verified by magic token that
at least my vote seems to have been counted correctly, and gotten the
same results the project secretary got both using the official vote
counting method and a couple of others [1], it looks like I better be
writing an acceptance mail...

So, first, thanks to all the folks who've offered congratulations (I
don't think my IRC screen has ever been so full of highlights) and the
insightful few who offered their commiserations as well; and thanks to
everyone who participated in the election, whether by standing for DPL,
by putting your name up for one of the DPL teams or otherwise offering to
help whoever's elected, by voting, by participating in the discussions on
-vote, Planet or IRC, or by helping coordinate or organise the election
and debates. A particular shout out to Manoj, who's not only set an
excellent standard for ensuring our election process is efficient,
transparent and reliable, but raised it every year.

Before I start replying to the couple of inquiries from press people,
I thought it'd be sensible to put a few initial thoughts to y'all via
this list...

The general philosophy I'm aiming to follow is that the DPL's not
really anything innately special -- there's very little you can do as
DPL that you can't do as a regular developer, or even as an excited
maintainer. What is different is the level of expectation: people pay
more attention to the DPL than J. Random Developer, are more inclined to
turn to the DPL when something's needed, and have a list of things from
the campaign period they expect the DPL to follow through on... And all
that is... well, rather daunting to say the least.

Mitigating that, though, is one of Debian's major strengths: namely its
diversity. I used to walk past what I guess was an AWU Queensland office,
emblazoned with the motto "Unity is Strength" [2] -- and it always struck
me how different that was to Debian, which draws its strength from the
cacophony of different voices and ideas from all over the planet. GPL,
BSD; DFSG, non-free; Gnome, KDE, ion, virtual consoles; zsh, tcsh;
sendmail, postfix; nvi, vim; emacs, xemacs; stable, unstable... By
dealing with diversity, we improve Debian multiplicatively instead of
just additively, but more importantly, by being so diverse, we ensure
it's not the end of the world if any of us fall or fail, but that the
project will continue with barely a hiccup.

So if you're one of the 17% or so of voters who would've rathered rerun
the election than have me win it, or are otherwise disappointed in the
result, I'd encourage you to spend a little bit of time thinking over
your options, and in particular to realise that, no matter what happens,
you always have the option of ignoring it -- the constitution absolutely
guarantees you can't be forced to do anything you disapprove of. The
worst case is presumably that you spend time improving some localised
area of Debian, or focus on an upstream project, or a derived distro,
or an alternate distro -- and as long as you keep working on free
software, you're likely to continue benefiting from Debian's work, and
Debian's likely to continue benefiting from yours -- all of which is still
absolutely a good thing. So don't be afraid to act (or not act) according
to your conscience: at worst, even if I'm wrong and Debian somehow ends
up not diverse enough for you, the broader Debian community, and the
free software community at large, definitely is and will remain so.

Of course, the real challenge is for all the folks who thought I'd be a
good DPL to ensure that in twelve months time we don't have to avoid eye
contact with that 17% and listen to the "I told you so"'s... Fortunately
that problem isn't quite here yet, so the details for that can wait a
few days at least. :)

In the meantime, Branden's term's still got a week left, during which
we'll hopefully be able to add amd64 to etch, get the second point release
of sarge out, possibly get modular X into unstable, and [_whatever you
want to add here_]. So let's get on with it!


[0] $ lynx -source http://www.debian.org/vote/2006/vote_002_tally.txt | sha1sum
    955c447b11216efc6aed84b3e4eeeb834f1d602f  -

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2006/04/msg00036.html

[2] http://www.awu.org.au/index.php

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