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Re: On cadence and collaboration

On Wed, Aug 05 2009, Mark Shuttleworth wrote:

        Thanks for the input. This was a far gbetter reasoned mail than
 some that have appeared on the list.

> OK, so that's the theory. How do we get there? How do we get many
> distributions to sit down and explore the opportunities to agree on
> common base versions for major releases?
> Well, the first thing is to agree on the idea of a predictable cadence.
> Although the big threads on this list are a little heartbreaking for me
> to watch, I'm glad that there hasn't been a lot of upset at the idea of
> a cadence in Debian so much as *which* cadence. We can solve the latter,
> we couldn't solve the former. So I'm happy at least at that :-)

        Based on Debian's last two releases, I think we have a 22  month
 release cycle going; stretching it to 24 years is not a big
 deal. Speaking for myself, I think have a predictable freeze date,
 every two years, is a good thing. 

        I do have objections to starting that with a foreshortened
 release cycle, and while I am neutral about December as a freeze month
 in general, I suspect  that the the actual date should come after
 negotiating with major component package maintainers (and upstream),
 and efforts in house aimed at improving Debian, and, ultimately, other

        So yes, I concur.

> How do I think it could work in practice? Well, if Debian and Ubuntu
> went ahead with the summit in December, where we reviewed plans for 2010
> and identified opportunities to collaborate, I think we would get (a)
> several other smaller distributions to participate, and (b) several
> upstreams to participate. That would be a big win. It would set us off
> on a good course. If we delivered, then, we would virtually guarantee
> that almost all the distributions and key upstreams would participate
> the next time around. And if *that* worked, we'd win RHEL over too.

        Umm, what summit is this? I think this is something that the
 Debian developer community has not been told about yet (which is
 somewhat irritating, but that is the theme for a different thread).

> First, there has been no secret cabal or skunkworks effort to influence
> Debian. As best I can tell, folks from both Debian and Ubuntu who have
> deep insight into release management established a shared interest in
> working together better, at many levels, and this was one idea that came
> forward. The fact that those discussions were open and ongoing was no
> secret - I wouldn't have talked about it in the media if it were!
> (Ironically, someone suggested that the fact that I was talking publicly
> about something in Debian implied there was a secret cabal. Aiieee.)

        Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, no? The fact
 that the majority of the developers have expressed a complaint that
 they were not in the loop seems to indicate that the non secret bit has
 yet to be adequately demonstrated.

        This  reminds me of a notice that was on display on the bottom
 of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on
 the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.

> Third, I think we need to call on the people who are not fundamentally
> prejudiced to speak out.

        As long as criticism does not immediately accrue the label of
 bias, this is fine.

        Now, if, as in a previous mail from you, synchronization implies
 that people are agreeing to ship with the same versions of the tool
 chain, X, KDE/GNOME, and other major components, that would mitigate
 some of the worry heard on this list about Debian being taken advantage
 of. Of course, determining what version of these packages will ship in
 a release needs to involve the maintainers and upstream developers of
 the package in question, with the RM's having a deciding role in what
 does or does not make the cut (decision after consultation is a horse
 of a different color than a priori decisions).

        I currently object to shortening the current release, causing
 various teams to shelve their ongoing improvements and development
 plans, in order to hasten towards a sync process that has not even begu
 the process of deciding on which versions of major packages we will
 ship (and, personally, what the status of the reference selinux
 security policy shipped will be).

        I see this as a good point to start discussion, not as a point
 where we decide to freeze in four months or so from now.

There are two kinds of egotists: 1) Those who admit it 2) The rest of us
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>  
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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