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Re: Debian Etch Stable.

On Tue, Dec 12, 2006 at 12:11:07PM +0100, Sam Hocevar wrote:
>    It looks to me that you are now asking others to set up the
> experimental protocol you failed to deliver when the "experiment" was
> being discussed. As of now, anything that might happen can be reused for
> a Dunc-Tank PR explaining how much the "experiment" helped.

As far as any hypothetical PR is concerned, "vocal critics of the
Dunc-Tank procedure declined to contribute any effort to getting the
release out sooner, even to demonstrate how effective Debian can be in
the absence of paid work" seems like it would be entirely sufficient. I
don't really see the point of caring about PR for Dunc-Tank though --
from Debian's POV it's a separate project, so it can say what it likes
and if it lies to the press it'll pay the price soon enough, and from
Dunc-Tank's POV, it needs to fulfill its various obligations -- eg,
a thorough post-etch report on what happened -- before it even starts
thinking about promoting itself to do new things in the future.

But if it turns out there really is a huge cost to paying people, it
seems to me like it'd be a lot easier to do a PR saying "this is what
development looks like with money, this is what community development
looks like without money" with the latter being obviously a lot more
effective than the former. And you already know exactly how effective
the former is in this case, so you just have to beat that.

>    Nowhere have I seen an official statement, explicit or implied, that
> Dunc-Tank will be a failure if XYZ happens, hence I fail to see how the
> so-called "anti-payment" people could be motivated to do anything yet.
> Please correct me if such a statement exists.

As an experiment, the only way it can be a failure is if it doesn't teach
us anything, and personally I think there's already plenty to be learnt from
this, so I don't think that's a question.

As to whether anything similar should be done in future, I'm going to
continue to reserve judgement on that until etch is out, and there's a
chance to consider the exercise in its entirety, with all the results
in. You're not in any way obligated to do the same, of course.

To be clear: I'm well aware that there are a number of people who don't
agree or approve of the Dunc-Tank project -- whether in concept or
merely in execution -- who are working on getting the release out at
our usual quality as soon as possible in spite of that difference of
opinion. There's nothing wrong with that, and I'm not suggesting that
they need to put it any more effort than they otherwise might for their
opinion to matter. But there are at least some people who are specifically
contributing less, whether as a deliberate protest against payments,
or simply because the project's doing things that don't interest them
as much as it might otherwise. This is a chance to turn that around,
take the momentum from the Dunc-Tank project and put it towards not
only helping Debian, but convincing other developers and free software
hackers that free, voluntary contributions are vastly better than even
trying to pay people.

And hey, maybe it won't work first go, but so what? Anyone who's going
to look beyond "didn't make 4th Dec release" for Dunc-Tank will surely
do the same for an unpaid endeavour, if the people undertaking it are
serious about it.


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