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Re: Issues regarding powerpc and Sven

On Sun, May 14, 2006 at 11:18:11PM -0500, Anthony Towns wrote:
> Frans and Colin dropped from Cc's, -boot and -powerpc Bcc'ed only;
> please avoid crossposting.

Indeed, debian-project may be more adapted for this.

> On Wed, May 10, 2006 at 11:14:39AM +0200, Sven Luther wrote:
> > On Wed, May 10, 2006 at 04:38:31PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > > As I suspect you're all already aware, on 27th April, Sven Luther asked
> > > me to review the situation with d-i and powerpc as a result of finding
> > > his commit access to the d-i repository had been removed. Having spent
> > > some time since then seeing what's been going on, I've concluded that
> > > removing Sven's commit access was a reasonable course of action, and
> > > won't be asking that you accept Sven's request to have it reinstated.
> > Anthony, d-i team.
> > I would very much like to get the detail of the reasoning behind how you
> > concluded that it was a reasonable course of action,
> The d-i team were acting under the belief that you no longer wished to
> work on d-i after a number of conflicts in the past [0]; they then sought

This may be true, but you have still not commented about the special
circunstances involving this particular mail. I was under probably one of the
worse personal stresses possible (my mother almost died a few hours before
that thread), and you cannot say that Frans reply to my
nice-and-helpful-but-maybe-uninformed mail to Shaymal was of the most
exemplar. I privately informed Frans about my situation, you know, you have a
copy of that mail, but i have never seen you even aknowledge that, but despite
this, he went on with it.

In a case of real-life situtation, i believe this could be similar to
harcelement in order to have someone resign, and would probably not stand in
court. Harcelement is illegal, even in the US, and the personal circunstances
are an agravating situation.

Why is everyone so silent about this part of it ?

> to find someone else to work on powerpc issues for d-i on the -powerpc
> list [1], indicating they need people at all levels to work on it (from
> testing builds to arch-specific development), and you not only saw that
> call for help, but participated in the thread [2].

Yeah, but there is one thing you failed to mention. First, my participation in
that thread was as helpful as i could, and i wished those would-be successors
lcuk and success. Second, the promise of the replacement failed, as the isos
broke within days, and nobody noticed the powerpc users complaining about it
for weeks.

If the d-i team had not such failed in their implicit promise of finding a
powerpc porter replacement team, we would probably not even have this
discussion, altough the removal of the svn commit access would not be
excusable even in this case.

> About a month after
> that got around to removing your commit access.

Ah, i was lead to believe (from an email from frans i believe), that the svn
commit removal was removed in early april or even earlier. I may be mistaken
though, still, there has been a huge amount of svn commit access who where
left open for months (or even years) after they became inactive, so ..

> That you now indicate that your intention had been to resign as *lead*
> powerpc porter for d-i doesn't really change matters; you weren't clear

Why doesn't it change matters ? 

> that that was your intention originally, you didn't clarify your intention
> when Frans stated the d-i team's understanding, and for various reasons

Well. There is the little matter of me writing Frans some hours before this
resignation email, about my personal situation, and asking him to not take in
account any stuff i would write in the next couple of weeks. Let me quote some
of it here :


  Please, can i ask you something personal ?

  Please, whatever crap i say or not on the list this next week, please, don't
  jump on me. Just this week, ok. I am in very very dire personal situation, in
  one i hope you never see, and i don't need some additional crap.

  <details about my mother's illness>

  So, really, this is a call of distress, be patient with me and curb your anger
  for some time, i don't need this crap, so please, a week or two ignore me or
  something ?


  Sven Luter

Given this, how could you justify that this 'resignation' mail i wrote in
response of another of those frans bashing was taken seriously ? Frans clearly
knew what was behind this, and i have told to many others since, but it is
clear this was of no consequence to the d-i team, and there i am humanly very
very disapointed in them, or in frans at least, since the others didn't know
unless he told them. This is a point i repeteadly asked you to clarify,
and that was totally ignored by all i have spoken about. Can you tell me why ?

> your involvement in d-i over the month between the mails above and your
> noticing your commit access was also removed.

My mother died on April 1, so, i hope you would understand that i had other
things to do and other things on my mind during those times.

> I don't think there's anything at all unreasonable in removing commit
> access for someone who voluntarily resigns from a project, especially when
> they go on to make it difficult to recruit new members to replace them.

Oh, please tell me how i made it difficult to recruit new members to replace
me ? In the past year, i have tried to orient and help anyone who expressed a
willingness to help, When frans wrote that mail, and Colin was suddenly the
new powerpc lead porter, i did my best to help him, provided him a list of
issues i was aware of, hinted him to the miboot packages, and so on. 

> That means it becomes a question of whether you joining the d-i team at
> this point actually makes sense on its own merits, rather than merely
> as a reversion of a previous bad decision.

Well, anybody expressing a desire to participate will be added to the d-i
team, so why not me ? I have proven that i can be thrusted with the svn commit
access, and that i am technically knowledgeable enough to do the work that was
needed. I am aware of no policy for anything else being required by people to
get d-i commit access.

> Since both you and Frans have made it very clear you're uncomfortable
> working closely with each other at this point, forcing you together
> seems entirely inappropriate, and against explicilty expressed desires
> from both of you.

This is where you are wrong. I am unconfortable discussing technical issues
with Frans and some other d-i team members, since i have seen their stern
rejection of any proposal by me, and subsequent bashing. I will thus say my
opinion on these issues, and as for stuff i really care about, implement a
solution and then let the technical merits of it speak by itself.

I believe that in these conditions, it is perfectly possible for me
to continue working on d-i, even though i may disagree with joey or frans or
whoever on technical details. I am honest enough, and enough dedicated to the
debian project, that i will not willingly hurt d-i as frans feared, and this
is a guarantee enough to allow my svn commit access back. And since the parts
i would be working on are 100% orthogonal of any parts frans would touch,
there is really no risk of confrontation there.

> > Further, i want to point out that i am the original author of both the
> > nobootloader and prep-installler .udeb packages, and was also early involved
> > in partman-prep (which is currently broken) package from Cajus Pollmeyer.
> Note that your technical abilities are not in any question.


> > These tree packages are in the debian-installer svn repo, and removing my
> > commit access means additional hurdle to me working on them, 
> It means that if you wish to continue maintaining them, you need to do so
> independently of the Debian Install System Team, which is listed as the
> current maintainer, and of which you are no longer a member. If you wish
> to consult with your co-maintainers for those packages (Matt Kraai and
> Stephen R Marenka for nobootloader, and Cajus Pollmeier for partman-prep)
> and setup a new source control repository, that's entirely appropriate.

Well, so this means a fork is preferable than getting a solution to this. I
don't believe this is in the best interest of both d-i or debian, but if it is
the only choice left for me, ...

My feeling is that we are all (me, frans and you included) making a mountain
of nothing, and that it would be perfectly possible to restore my svn commit
access without any problem for anyone.

> > and i think it
> > would be more logical if this confirms itself, that those packages be removed
> > from the d-i svn repo and hosted somewhere else more neutral.
> You're no longer a member of the d-i team; if they wish to keep those
> packages' source in their subversion repository, it doesn't matter to you

Ah, but it will matter. Not to me, but the risk is that someone comes along,
sees the package in the d-i repo, makes some modifications, and upload them,
in the same time undoing all modifications i have made in the packages.

Sorry, but this is a stupid way of doing work, there can only be a single
authoritative svn repository of those packages, or it risk being a huge mess,
i hope this is evident to everyone.

(i excuse myself for the word 'stupid', which some may see insulting, but
given that english is not my native language, i just couldn't find any other
word that fitted the situation you are proposing without being offensive.
Please be asured that it was not meant as offensive)

> at all. If they wish to maintain a fork compared to your packages, that's
> fine too. If other members of the d-i team wish to maintain it in your
> stead, they probably will be expected to justify that change as a package
> hijack, depending on what your co-maintainers think of the situation.

Well, nobootloader is another matter, but partman-prep is currently broken,
and Cajus has not touched it in month, or maybe a year. I think this speaks
from itself. nobootloader, well i have a set of changes for nobootloader which
will be needed in the not-so-distant future, but i know that others will also
have reasons to modify it. I don't know What Matt and Stephen contributed
exactly, but i know that Marting Michlmayr for example has made meaningful
contributions for arm or mips, based on my earlier work for pegasos.

> > [...] and in any case, i have seen
> > no evidence that this removal of my svn commit access was expected to have any
> > technical effect, only a social one, to get ride of me and make sure i would
> > not be able to interact with d-i in the future.
> You have been asked to interact with the d-i team a number of times in
> a number of ways; you have consistently refused to do so by any means
> other than direct commit access to their subversion repository.

This doesn't in any way justify the original removal of svn commit access, and
you are not replying to the question above.

> If people were trying to get rid of you, or stop you from interacting with
> the d-i team in the future, it would be achieved by blocking or limiting
> your access to the mailing lists or bug tracking system, or by undertaking
> expulsion procedures. The d-i team have specifically refused from taking
> any of those actions, and when asked have indicated that your involvement
> in the team is highly desired -- just that they no longer consider direct
> subversion access to be a reasonable way to interact with you.

Ok. This is the most important point here. Can you tell me *WHY* a direct
subversion access from me is not reasonable ? Can you tell me *WHEN* i have
abused it, or any other reason that would justify this removal ?

Also, i remember reading Frans saying that his removal of my svn commit access
was justified because i tried to fix the mkvmlinuz bug, which Colin should
have fixed or something such. This doesn't sound very much like if my
involvement was highly desired.

> Furthermore, while it has not been requested, and indeed the d-i team have
> explicitly indicated that they would like you to continue contributing,
> there would be quite a reasonable case for reducing your ability to
> interact, given the signal to noise ratio of your posts, and the impact
> your negativity is having on other people contributing to both d-i in
> general, and powerpc support in particular.

And tell me then, what is the relationship between the noise-to-signal ratio
of my email communication and the content of my svn commits ? 

Also, i should notice that i have not expressed any negativity, if anything, i
have expressed positivity, and got negativity in return. Remember, that i
argued for technical progress of the kernel .udeb matter, not the contrary.

> > I believe that the mediation attempts has thus failed, and that the proposal
> > you make has not evolved a bit since we started this, and that you gave all
> > the reason to the d-i team. 
> If you believe authorising 0-day NMUs for any issue you believe is
> important with the rather basic conditions outlined in my mails is
> disregarding you entirely, then you're simply mistaken. That, of course,
> is your right.

Remember the most important point i have asked you in the mediation ? I asked
you some guarantee for me not to be submitted to the bash-fest from Frans,
which has continuously greeted many of my d-b posts or interactions, even
outside d-b medias.

Also, as said, the svn repo is the prefered form of modification of d-i and
d-i related packages. Any other way of handling this cause the risk of
confusion and i don't believe a fork is the best for d-i and debian.

Since there has not been a single evidence or even a hint in how i could abuse
the svn commit right, restoring the commit right and letting me work on those
packages and infrastructure is in no way something which is worse, or more
dangerous, or whatever, than your proposal, so i don't see any reason why it
should not be the prefered way of solving the technical side of this issue.

Now, to the social part. I have misbehaved, in part, but in part only, because
i was under particular stress due to my family situation, even though nobody
seems to aknowledge this. So, i misbehaved, but i aknoweldged this after
Andres's expulsion request, and was under way to better myself in this.

The problem is, that this is not all black and white, and i am not the only
one who behaved badly in this. Your proposed mediation is not a good fix to
the social issues at hand, because it is a one-sided-black-and-white
mediation, which put all the blame on me, and don't even mention the other
side of the conflict, apart from seeing them as victims.

I don't believe that there can be any kind of long-termed solution to any
social conflict with such an un-balanced proposal as yours. Please speak with
someone with a clue in psychology or something, and see what he tells you
about this. It will only bread resentment, and the one side who was left free
of all blame, will only feel justified to redo the same thing later on. I
know, this is not the first time i have problems with the exact same people,
and see where we are now.

As said, feel free to not take my word on this, it is a bit difficult for me
to place myself as both one of the parties and a neutral bystander to make
those comments, but if you are going to dismiss them or whatever, at least do
so with good argumentation :).

So, are we not all bored of this over-long thread ? Can we please come to our
senses, and let everyone who want to do work do so in the most efficient way ?


Sven Luther

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