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Re: Issues regarding powerpc and Sven

On Tue, May 16, 2006 at 05:07:38AM -0500, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Mon, May 15, 2006 at 11:26:09PM +0200, Sven Luther wrote:
> > > 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 don't think it's relevant -- Debian developers should act in a way that
> benefits our users and the free software community. It would be great if
> that meant that Debian was 100% fun all the time, but sometimes that's
> just more than we can actually manage.
> > Why is everyone so silent about this part of it ?
> Because we don't want to dishonour your mother, or diminish your loss by
> reconciling it with Debian's priorities. You've been dealing with more
> than what anyone could reaosonably expect you to recently -- and normal
> people would respond to that by just not doing Debian stuff. That you
> keep trying to contribute is only to your credit; but in so far as your
> contributions are harmful to Debian -- such as posting that the powerpc
> port is unreleasable -- we can't put our users' interests aside because
> of your personal issues, severe as they are.

Well, the RMs have made a prerequisite for a port being releasable to have a
well maintained and working d-i. This was not the case at the time i wrote
this mail, despite frans's promise. I don't see this as being harmful to
debian, but i believe, and i think the SC supports me in that, that our users
deserve to know the real situation.

Now, my main problem with this, is that there are things you simply don't do
to other persons under these circunstances, and frans stepped over this line.
You would not accept such behavior in real life, so why is it acceptable in
debian ? This is i believe an important question to answer, which will have
impact much later then this one event too.

> I was told this evening that you've also been privileged to have had a
> second child recently; if I may, I'd like to wish you congratulations,
> and express my continuing amazement that you have any time to spend on
> Debian at all.


> > 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, 
> It's more likely that I'm mistaken; or that I'd intended to say "you
> didn't notice for a month; but maybe it had already been removed earlier,
> I don't know".


> > > 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 ? 
> You can't determine your actions based on what other people /think/, only
> what they say and do. You said you were resigning, and didn't contradict
> Frans' statement that you weren't working on d-i at all anymore. How can
> it possibly be unreasonable in those circumstances to remove your access?

I didn't contradict frans statement that i was no more going to be the powerpc
porters. I never said anything about "not working on d-i at all anymore".

Also, i said that when i believed whoever was going to replace me would do the
job. This resulted to not be the case, as the isos broke within days of me
being replaced, and nobody noticed neither the brokeness, nor the users
complaining, or at least nobody deamed it important enough to inform the
users or fix the issues.

> > Given this, how could you justify that this 'resignation' mail i wrote in
> > response of another of those frans bashing was taken seriously ?
> Personally, I would have taken your mail as "please try to understand
> what I'm saying underneath the hystrionics or swearing", and assumed that
> your resignation was serious, but any negative comments or predictions you
> made were just in the heat of the moment, and done much the same as Frans.

Notice that the chronology is the following :

  1) i helepd shaymal and made some misinformed guess which frans made an
  aggresive reply too.

  2) i told frans in private of my problems, and asked him to cut the

  3) frans replied with more bashing.

  4) i wrote that letter, where i intented to write i resigned as lead powerpc
  folk, which may have come bad differently, me not being native english
  speaker and under stress and all.

In these conditions, would your interpretation still stand ? 

> > Frans clearly knew what was behind this, 
> That's not true, I think. I'm sure you did everything you could to make
> him understand, but I don't think it's realistic to expect him to actually
> be able to -- your circumstances have been pretty severe, after all.

Well, maybe. not sure though, you have read the email, what do you think of it ?
I mean, even when i was under the most severe of attacks on irc from Branden,
and you know how obnoxious he can be, it was enough for me to tell him it is
not a good time personally so that he stopped this. I understand now that
maybe Frans is not in a position to understand the harm he has done me, or
whatever, but that doesn't explain why you didn't try to take this part into
count when you worked on the mediation.

> > 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 ?
> I've ignored it because I don't believe it's a part of solving this
> problem -- and I might of course be wrong in that. In short the d-i

It is my believe indeed. This is a social problem, and probably a huge
misunderstanding to start with. If you don't solve the issues at the root of
it, there is no chance of it being solved.

> team certainly care that you're not frustrated and annoyed, but they
> have to care more about producing a good installer for our users, and
> at the moment they can't trust you to do that. It would be great if

Why can i not be thrusted to produce a good installer for our users. I mean,
sure, Frans is saying that, but there is no evidence that will support this,
and i find it not a little bit insulting against my long term commitment to
debian that i would do such a thing as they accuse me of.

> they could, and we could all just work together as contented friends,
> but we can't -- we need to re-establish that trust on both sides: on
> your behalf by demonstrating you are willing to accept the d-i guys
> will accept your patches or only reject them in favour of alternate,

What is gained by that ? The problem is not technical it is social. I have
never commited stuff that has not been previously discussed and accepted, or
that i was the best placed to commit, and even if i did so by mistake, it is
easy enough to revert the svn commit, while it is more complicated to revert
an uploaded package.

The problem is social, it has to do with arguing on the mailing lists, and i
am not the only one having a problem with that, as you can see in the recent
gtk-dfb thread on debian-boot.

> better implementations; and on their side by demonstrating that they
> care about powerpc and won't just ignore bugfixes because they don't
> fit some overarching design.

I am more afraid of bugfixes being ignored because there is not enough
time-and-work-ressources to get them applied.

> I believe the process I proposed will allow that trust to be
> re-established without relying on it already existing -- but if you
> find it offensive and refuse to try it, I don't think there are many
> plausible alternatives.

Sure, there are. But it needs a more profund understanding of the situation,
which doesn't put all the blame on me.

> > > 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?
> Anybody who wants to work with the d-i team is welcome to participate;
> you've repeatedly expressed your discomfort in working with Frans and
> other d-i team members, so until that changes you simply don't qualify.

Yeah, but on the other hand, the same applies to Frans, so should we remove
his svn 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. 
> The phrase you used in mailing me was:
> "I do believe that the way the current d-i team is working is a problem,
> and i don't believe that Franz is a good leader for the d-i team,
> [...]  Furthermore he has had negative impact on other teams, like the
> kernel team."

Indeed. I am standing behind this quote. But further discussion about this is
not going to help solve the issue. Let me quote something else instead :

  The most important thing that I think would benefit Debian is increasing its
  tempo. We've been slow in a lot of things, from releasing, to getting
  updates in, to processing applications from prospective developers, to
  fixing bugs, to making decisons on policy questions, and all sorts of other
  things. Even the DPL election process takes longer to go from start to whoa
  than the last Australian Federal Election, and this year we'll have two
  state elections run and complete entirely within the election period.

  There are often good reaons for this, generally of the form "it's more
  important to get it right than to do it fast", but that objection is often
  used even when there's no actual contradiction between those goals. And
  sometimes doing it fast *helps* you to do it right, by letting you try out
  solutions and act on the feedback -- that is, the "release early, release
  often" philosophy.

I hope you recognize this, but Frans is, as far as my experience goes, is not
able for whatever reason to apply this principle to d-i, and since i believe
you are right, and have been tried to push early action on a couple of d-i
related fronts, we got into this mess.

So, re-read your own plateform, then look at the issues under discussion in
the d-i team, and then come back to me.

> > 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.
> That's not for you to judge, it's for the d-i team, and they are not
> convinced.  If you're sincere, then I think working with them via the BTS
> and NMUs for a few months will convince them of this; but if you're not
> willing to do that, and focus instead on posting to the lists instead
> of working on code to improve the powerpc port, then I think you're
> mistaken in your self-assessment.

I fear that this will not work, i fear that the effort i make will not be
recognized by the d-i team, and that frans in particular will not be able to
distinguish me mis-behaving, with me having a technical disagreement with him.
Fruthermore, the freeze is 2 and a half month away, we don't have time.

> > > > 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.
> > ???
> Your technical abilities are not in any question.
> Frans, myself and others appreciate your experience, skill and dedication
> in working on the powerpc port, and it's really annoying to all of us that
> we've devolved into these silly arguments rather than working together
> productively. Unfortunately just adopting the rule that "no matter what
> Sven says, it's okay, he can get away with anything" isn't acceptable.

Ok, but i was arguing that the logical place to hold development of those
packages i will be working on in the next time is the debian-installer svn
repo, any other place would be a mistake, detrimental to debian, and more
prone to cause a mess than anything else, i was not bragging about the code i
provided or something such.

> > 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.
> It'd be perfeclty possible for you to keep working without svn commit
> access without any problem for anyone too. That's not really the

I have commented on this already. This is not in the best interest of debian,
and a fork as proposed cause the risk of changes being lost by mistake, and
cause a mess. Why do you think i insist so much on svn commit right
restoration ? Just to gain an edge in the battle with Frans maybe ? No, it is
because it is the technically right thing to do, and you would agree to it
also if you would stop to think about it.

The problem is that frans has made it a matter of pride and honor, or
whatever, which means he refuses any solution of this kind, and which prompted
your ill-advised mediation attempt.

> condition that's important here -- rather it's that the consequence
> of restoring your commit access would be that Frans, Joey, Colin and
> others' contributions to d-i would be discredited in so far as they
> aren't allowed to determine who they work with.

This is bullshit, sorry. If they are not adult enough to be able to have fun
and work on d-i, if i have svn access and work on parts of d-i they know they
don't have the time, knowledge or will to work on, then there is something
really wrong here, and then people tell me i lack maturity.

This is exactly the point that the mediation process should have solved, all
the rest is just useless blabla.

> In this instance you've acted quite unreasonably -- albeit under
> circumstances that would have caused the best of us to act unreasonably
> also -- and it's you that should make amends for that, not Frans or
> anyone else. If you're not willing to do so, that's your choice -- we
> are all volunteers after all, but you can't expect that there won't be
> any consequences to that choice.

So, you still believe all fault is on my side, and others behaved in a perfect
way ? 

> > 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 ?
> The most efficient way to do work is to ignore anyone who disagrees with
> you -- it saves a lot of time, after all.

This is not what i said. This is exactly what frans has been doing with regard
to me though, and why he removed my svn commit access though.

> It's not the best way of doing work, however, because it means you
> miss the opportunite to benefit from other people's ideas. You've been
> repeatedly demonstrating an inability to work through disagreements
> with others in a cooperative fashion, and you shouldn't be surprised if,
> as a consequence, other people stop letting you ignore them.

Ah, yeah ? i guess this vision of yours is why the mediation attempt failed.

> Fixing that won't be remotely efficient -- you will need to go out of your
> way to prove you are willing to listen to people who disagree with you,

Well, i do listen. I have some problem with the other side not listening to me
though, that i admit.

> and that when that happens you will work with them to either ease their
> concerns or produce a new, better solution. But that means putting aside
> immediate "efficiency", which is something you've rarely seem willing
> to do.

The etch freeze is in 2.5 month. And you should reread the 'vitality' part of
your plateform.

> A good first step would be to slow down your replies to these threads,
> for example by editing the mails you send two or three times (with ten
> to twenty minute breaks in between drafts), or getting your posts reviewed
> by people whom you trust, and who aren't having similar problems interacting
> with people. 

Maybe, but maybe too asking the other side to do the same will help no ?

> A better step would be to work on d-i, the kernel or other packages in a
> manner that doesn't involve getting upset when things don't immediately go
> your way, and demonstrating a willingness to ensure that other people's
> goals aren't being trampled on as you try to meet yours. If you aren't

It is not me that gets upset, it is frans.

> able to find a way to do that without subversion commit access, I don't
> think you'll ever be willing to do so, and I don't think it's reasonable
> to ask people to work with you in those circumstances.

It is clear you still have a too one-sided sight of this issue to be a good
judge of it. Oh well, i guess we will be discussing this another month or so,
and not come to any kind of agreement.

Too bad, maybe next year when there is a new DPL, things will be better :)


Sven Luther

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