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Re:Position Statement to the Dunc-Tanc "experiment"

Hi guys, 

First of all, forgive me for posting here but I don't know where 
places to do that since what I have to say got to do with you all working in 

Ok!Let's not go in flamewars! 
My name is Carlos Alberto, I come from Brazil, I'm just a Debian 
user, not developer. I had used other linux distributions before until found 
Debian. When other distribuition companies begins to 
put money in first place, I choosen Debian because its beautiful volunteer 
development model. It's seems to me the same it's happening in Debian,or at 
least, seeds are launched. 

Sorry for those who are being payd, but to me here outside Debian, 
I see peaple over there trying to find a way to make money with 
Debian; just doing it, nothing more! Debian always had a long release cycle 
and this never had being a problem for its community. 
What's happing today is completly against ideas lanched by Ian Murdock in 
early days of Debian. So, sounds very strange someone to argue start such 
project Dunk Tank in favor (supposed) to acelerate release cycle. 

The truth is just one! Peaple are trying to make money with Debian! 
This not good for the life and survival of Debian project! And none 
of Debian Developers have the right to appropriate theyrselves from 
production of other persons. This way, me and many other Debian user around 
the agree with what Joerg says below. 

Debian is more important than individuals interest and money! All you have 
to do is a new DPL election and let Debian shine. 

Carlos Alberto 

Andrew Pollock, don't say so idiot thing. 
Marc Haber, there's no need for special privileges in Debian. Nobody 
is or does jobs better than others. 
Chris Waters, don't say so idiot thing. 

Drew Parsons, money doesn't make Microsoft realese sooner and better 
    * To: debian-devel-announce@lists.debian.org 
    * Subject: 
    * From: Joerg Jaspert <joerg@debian.org> 
    * Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 19:46:00 +0200 
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After a long and ambivalent discussion during the last weeks the project 
"Dunc Tank" (short DT from now on) has recently started.  We consider 
that to be a major change to the Debian project culture: For the first 
time Debian Developers are paid for their work on Debian by a 
institution so near to the project itself. 

While we disagree with DT for the reasons outlined below, we want to 
state that this is not against the two people who should now benefit 
>From it. We do trust Andreas and Steve that they do the best they can 
and only intend to do something good for Debian. 

With this mail we would like to summarize our thoughts about the DT 
project and the idea behind it. We also want to raise some questions we 
still consider unanswered and open: 

- Why were the release managers (RMs) chosen as beneficiary for this 
  experiment? There are several areas within the Debian project 
  that we consider equally important and full-time work there could 
  benefit the project way more. Especially since it is clear now that we 
  currently can not keep the scheduled release date, even with DT paying 
  our RMs. 

- What exactly are the release managers being paid for? There surely 
  must be more than a simple "Stay at home, work on Debian" in their 

- How does DT want to know whether the release managers stick to their 
  part of the agreement? 

- How is the success of this "experiment" measured? (For the release as 
  well as for the entire project) 

- How do these measurements make sure that the observed consequences are 
  based on the experiment? 

- How is it planned or is it even possible to compare the consequences 
  of the experiment with a state of the project without this experiment? 

- What actions have been taken to ensure that potential negative 
  outcomes of the experiment won't affect the Debian project? 

- Has it taken into account that several developers who have spent large 
  chunks of time on Debian before got demotivated to continue their work? 

- How do these measurements try to compare positive and negative effects 
  on the release as well as the Debian project itself? 

- During the discussion before the experiment it was said that the 
  living costs of the release managers are to be paid. Additionally it 
  was said that it is "providing a reasonable amount of money to cover 
  living expenses" and later on, that this is "below the average" they 
  could get elsewhere. However, the official donation site[1] 
  mentions US$ 6000.00 for each release manager. We do consider this to 
  be neither just "living costs" nor "below average", not even by 
  applying common taxes and insurances one has to pay. On what grounds 
  has this amount been calculated? 

  [1] https://www.pubsoft.org/pubsoft.py/project?proj=Dunc-Tank-etch-rm 

Although DT claims to be separate from Debian, we still feel that we are 
entitled to an answer to our questions, since after all, we are the 
people DT is experimenting with! 

After this set of questions let us comment on DT and present our opinion 
about statements made by DT supporters and board members. 

One claim of the DT people is that this "is only an experiment". Yet 
this whole affair already hurts Debian more than it can ever achieve. It 
already made a lot of people who have contributed a huge amount of time 
and work to Debian reduce their work. People left the project, others 
are orphaning packages, the NEW queue is rising, system administration 
and security work is reduced, DWN is no longer released weekly and a lot 
of otherwise silent maintainers simply put off Debian work and work on 
something else. While some of these actions simply tend to happen, all 
the listed points are explicitly due to DT. Compared to possible 
benefits one may see - e.g. releasing near a time we promised to release 
at - in our opinion this is not worth the trouble DT already got us in. 

Another bad feeling introduced by DT is that of a two-class 
project. Until DT, Debian has been a completely volunteer-based 
project. Today there are two paid Release Managers, opposed to all other 
project members. This creates a set of two "uber-DDs", in contrast to 
all the other nearly 1000 Developers and many more maintainers, whose 
work seems to be considered less important for Debian. It is ridiculous 
to set a deadline and then to create a project to pay those two people 
who set the deadline, but ignore the huge amount of work other people 
put into Debian. It is not as if those two Release Managers are now 
doing all the work that needs to be done, it is expected that they go 
and "direct" other people to do the work for the release. So why don't 
we pay all of them also? Aren't they worth the money? 

Another statement we heard repeatedly from DT supporters is that "DT is 
a separate project and not Debian". We do think that this is, at best, a 
joke. The DT board consists solely of the current Debian Project Leader, 
his assistant and other high-profile Debian Developers, working on a 
Debian related project. This simply can't be seen as something separated 
>From Debian and the public has already proven that it doesn't consider 
it a totally separate project. 

We also heard a lot of sentences like "this happens since years, DT is 
nothing new". We do acknowledge that people get paid for work on Debian 
issues since years. We do not have a problem with this fact per se, 
quite the opposite is true. The big difference between DT and any random 
company paying people to work on Debian is that companies usually pay 
people to work on stuff they benefit from, for example a programmer that 
enhances a program in Debian and also happens to be the package 
maintainer has the permission to maintain the package in Debian during 
its work time. Or some system administrator that can enhance packages in 
Debian which then also benefits his work (like fixing bugs he then 
doesn't have to fix on every package upgrade). The important point here 
is that it does not involve an employer <-> employee situation within 
Debian, which DT is now introducing. 

So, to summarize DTs effects on Debian: It has demotivated a lot of 
people who now either resigned, simply stopped doing (parts of their) 
Debian work or are doing a lot less than they did before DT was 
started. The freeze got delayed and getting the release out on schedule 
has become nearly impossible. We are unable to see any good virtue in 
this "experiment". 

The heated discussion DT has consumed an incredible amount of 
time and energy that could also have been used in a much more productive 
way. This was probably expected from the DT initiators but didn't keep 
them from setting off this discussion at such an important time - 
shortly before the release. Why they didn't introduce DT *after* the 
release, or much much earlier in this release cycle, when there is/was 
time and a lengthy discussion would not have taken otherwise needed time 
is not understandable. 

Having said all this and also risking yet another flamewar, let us make 
a last request for now: Please have a healthy discussion, let the DT 
people answer these questions, tell them (or us) if they (or we) made wrong 
assumptions or something, but please do not flame. 

Signed by: 
Jörg Jaspert, ftp-master assistant, DAM, DebConf Organizer 
Alexander Schmehl, Debian Developer, press, event manager, DebConf Organizer 
Alexander Wirt, Debian Developer 
Daniel Priem, New Maintainer 
Martin Würtele, Debian Developer 
Gerfried Fuchs, Debian Developer 
Patrick Jäger, User 
Otavio Salvador, Debian Developer 
Joey Schulze, Debian Developer, Security, DWN, DSA, press, promoter 
Felipe Augusto van de Wiel, New Maintainer 
Sam Hocevar, Debian Developer 
Pierre Habouzit, Debian Developer 
Julien Danjou, Debian Developer, Stable Release Manager 
Peter Palfrader, Debian Developer 
Julien Blache, Debian Developer, promoter 
Christoph Berg, Debian Developer, QA, NM front-desk 
Holger Levsen, New Maintainer, DebConf Organizer 

Some public statements from Debian people: 

Holger Levsen:  [2] rather say no without reasons than say nothing 
Julien Danjou:  [3] My way to have etch released on time 
Gerfried Fuchs: [4] All Praise Dunc-Tank! 
Joey Schulze:   [5] Debian is a failure, [6] Where's the fun gone?, [7] 
Debian Weekly News 
Julien Blache:  [8] Dunc-Tank and "living expenses" 

[2] http://layer-acht.org/blog/debian/#1-37 
[4] http://alfie.ist.org/blog/2006/09/21 
[5] http://www.infodrom.org/~joey/log/?200609210757 
[6] http://www.infodrom.org/~joey/log/?200609220755 
[7] http://www.infodrom.org/~joey/log/?200610250942 
[8] http://blog.technologeek.org/2006/10/25/32 

bye Joerg 

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