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Re: Deficiencies in Debian

gregor herrmann <gregor+debian@comodo.priv.at> writes:
> On Thu, 10 May 2007 13:42:37 -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> There isn't any silver bullet solution.  If there was, we probably
>> would have taken it already.  Some projects do better with it than
>> others.  Linux does a relatively good job here.

> I'm not following the Linux community closely; do you think there are
> points Debian could adopt or learn from?

With Linux, I think it helps a lot that many of the people involved in
kernel development are paid to do it and mentor others as part of their
job.  I do similar things for Debian, training other people in my group on
how to build Debian packages and participate in the infrastructure, and
hopefully over time that will bear fruit for Debian as well.

Linux also has a good history of organized projects to help people get
started, such as kernel janitors, and puts a lot of effort into
collaboration infrastructure.  And one of the best things about the Linux
model is that Linus regularly talks about how he wants things done and
what leads him to take stuff or not take stuff in public on the lists,
which leads others to do the same.  And those are interactive discussions,
not just writeups.  I think people learn a lot from those discussions.

On Debian, the impression that I've gotten is that a lot of the real
mentoring and discussion actually happens on IRC rather than on the
lists.  I don't know how effective that is.  I'm personally really not an
IRC person, and I'm already on enough different chat fora that I have no
time to even look at another.

> Hm, maybe that sounds naïve, but what about thinking about a way to
> adopt strategies of mentoring, development, fine graining roles (job
> descriptions, mutual agreements, appraisal&evaluation, ...) , etc.  to
> F/LOSS in general and Debian in particular?

The main obstacle that I see is that that stuff takes a lot of time.  I
spend probably 5% of my work time on the coordination, record-keeping, and
reporting parts of that sort of activity, which in a full-time job is
quite reasonable.  But it's not really a percentage; it's a quantity of
time that those activities take.  And I couldn't take a similar two hour
per week cut out of my Debian volunteer work without a much greater impact
on how much stuff I could get done.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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