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Policy (re)delegation

Hey all,

With this mail I'm formally delegating Debian's policy maintenance to the
following group:

	Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org>
	Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org>
	Junichi Uekawa <dancer@debian.org>
	Andreas Barth <aba@debian.org>
	Margarita Manterola <marga@debian.org>

This delegation is not intended to replace the collaborative process of
basing policy on existing best practices by discussion and consensus
building on mailing lists, but to ensure that the people who actually
do the work to maintain policy definitely have the authority to do so.

The delegation also includes the authority to add new people to the
policy maintenance team and to define how the group is structured.

AIUI, they'll be updating the policy-process document fairly soon to
make it clear how other people can contribute to policy, and I believe
that at least Russ and Marga will be spending some time doing some more
routine policy tasks to improve their understanding of policy related
issues. I know some other folks have already expressed interest in helping
out on policy related tasks, and I'm pretty sure the policy team would
appreciate your assistance, and be glad to offer suggestions on what
forms your help might take.

For those who don't know all DDs by name and reputation, some short bios:

  Manoj Srivastava has been one of the leading policy maintainers since
  1998 and a member of the technical committee since its formation. He
  is also the author and maintainer of kernel-package, which is used to
  create debs of the Linux kernel.

  Russ Allbery is the lead maintainer of lintian, a tool used to
  automatically check packages' compliance with Debian policy, and to
  warn about potentially poor packaging practices.

  Junichi Uekawa is the author of the pbuilder tool, which helps ensure
  better compliance with build-time policy by making it easy to do
  package builds in a minimal environment. He is also the author of the
  Library Packaging Guide, which is one of the recommended introductions
  to packaging recommended in the new-maintainer process.

  Andreas Barth is the lead maintainer of the developers reference, a
  member of the technical committee, one of Debian's release managers,
  maintainer of the turmzimmer scripts for tracking release critical bugs,
  and other things.

  Margarita Manterola did an analysis and explanation of the various
  states a package can go through as part of installation and upgrades,
  which is currently available through the Debian-Women wiki [0] and
  which resulted in a long dormant bug in dpkg being discovered and fixed.

(Note: while Junichi has indicated interest in being involved in a policy
team, he's been busy on unrelated matters so hasn't had the opportunity to
give a final yay/nay; obviously anyone can decline the delegation at any
time, so I've decided to stick his name in the initial delegation anyway)

In comparison to the original delegation in June 2005 [1], the above
doesn't include an explicit chair (though the policy team can create
one if desired), and only includes the authority to create policy, not
to publish authoritative findings of compliance or non-compliance. To
the best of my knowledge, that latter power hasn't ever been exercised,
and it's instead been left to groups and individuals using tools such as
lintian, pbuilder or piuparts to find and report problems, or targeted
searches for flaws such as Martin Michlmayr's rebuild of the archive
with gcc 4.1 earlier this year, or Dunc-Bank's search for RC bugs. Two
of the five people listed above are members of the technical committee,
which I believe is aligned with the concerns relating to separation of
powers outlined in Branden's delegation. Matt Zimmerman is otherwise
occupied with Ubuntu and other projects, so is unable to dedicate time
to participate in Debian policy maintenance at this point and hasn't
been re-delegated.

In so far as I was concerned that the policy delegation was being
used to avoid working towards a consensus on technical policy, I've
been reassured by subsequent discussion both on the -project and -vote
lists and off-list that no one has any intention of letting that happen.
The new policy team have my full confidence and support in their technical
decisions and in their ability to help others contribute to policy,
both individually and collectively.


[0] http://women.debian.org/wiki/English/MaintainerScripts
[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2005/06/msg00017.html

Anthony Towns
Debian Project Leader

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