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Re: Problems with NM Front Desk


First of all, most honest thanks to you Russ, you seem to be the only one 
concerned really with what I am saying (even reading it).

On Sunday 04 July 2010 19:36:02 Russ Allbery wrote:
> Please try to use a charitable reading of other people's messages when
> > understanding e-mail and, as you said yourself:
> > The first thing that a Front Desk person has to do is to investigate,
> > try to understand what the people is saying (applicants are not
> > [always] familiar with Debian's inner ways of working), and more
> > important, read it twice or ask if you don't understand what the
> > applicant is saying, not mocking them.
> I think the situation would not have escalated in the way in which it did
> if you had followed the smae advice, because I don't believe either
> Cristoph or Joerg meant their messages anywhere near as negatively as you
> perceived them.

I think that if they didn't meant that, they could've reacted in a couple of 
simple and reasonable ways to my reply to Joerg's message:

a) "I meant it seriously even if I was joking, your job in Debian so far is 
not enough to apply for DD just yet".

b) "Sorry, I had misunderstood you, and [whatever]".

The not reasonable reaction for me is (without any other communication in 
the middle except the generic message to debian-newmain@ ML):

1) Erasing me from the NM database, not even leaving any trace in the "NM 
weekly report".

2) Accusing me of finger-pointing in that message, etc, even if not 
directly; apart from:

3) Not abiding to the rules that supposedly Debian Community approved, and 
enforcing "unofficial rules" instead systematically.

I just exposed the case in this mailing list as best as I could in the heat 
of the moment, because had I been a "Debian Member" who approved the rules 
via General Resolution or whatever other means, and cared for people trying 
to join my project, I wouldn't approve of sub-groups breaking the rules and 
acting partially (especially in a sub-group as prominent as this one, trying 
to gather new contributors).

That's all the story.  If the Debian Community as a whole doesn't care about 
this or thinks that they actions and reaction are OK, that's fine for me, I 
just don't want be a "Debian Member" anymore and everybody happy.

> > c) Re: the MIA stuff: he is not MIA, he does some work to some of his
> > packages, you can see it in the PTS; but didn't do any work on these
> > ones for 3 years, nor replied to offerings of help, bug requests
> > telling to orphan them, etc.  And I'm no DD to start inquiring DDs and
> > bothering people with MIA stuff, I think.  BTW, He just replied to a
> > bug report after I we updated the K3D package.
> I appear to have not been sufficiently clear here, so I'll try to be even
> more direct.
> Absolutely nothing changes about this procedure whether you are a DD, a
> DM, or someone with no official relationship with Debian.  If the package
> is unmaintained, someone needs to follow the process described in the
> Developer's Reference for dealing with this.  If the maintainer is not
> responding to bugs about that package and not maintaining that package,
> they are MIA with respect to at least that package, even if they're doing
> other Debian work, and regardless of terminology, that's a problem that
> needs to be addressed.


As I understand the whole section "7.4. Dealing with inactive and/or 
unreachable maintainers", the MIA stuff discussed is in the general case 
(not in particular packages).  I could have investigated whether he was 
really MIA, or not etc, but I decided that the NMU was an easier path and 
that might produce some reaction that the e-mails did not, and apparently it 

In other words: you're right, I just didn't follow that path.  And I think 
that if it's important for Debian Community to know of such cases and act 
upon them, they should implement a way for doing it (e.g. like the annual 
ping for DMs that I mentioned in another mail).

I, as an outsider, don't want to "investigate and report" on people, in 
general; I'm just concerned with packages being in a good shape (especially 
the ones that I know of, and if I can help in any way).

> You do not need to be a DD to address this, and if you're interested in
> maintaining this package, you *should not* wait to be a DD to address
> this.  You can start working on this now.

As I said multiple times I already did, I created 3 versions of that 
packages already, which were sponsored and uploaded:

with a few fixes in the works (RPATH lintian warning, licensng problems and 

> If the contributions are the same, then it shouldn't make a difference,
> but they do need to be the same at all levels, not just technical
> competence.  OpenSceneGraph has an incorrect Maintainer and Uploaders
> field from what you've said, which should be fixed, and the other
> packages you've done work on have not been properly investigated and
> orphaned and are being maintained via NMUs.  Those are both things that
> I, were I your application manager, would expect you to fix before I
> would be comfortable approving you as a Debian Developer.

Hmmm, I wasn't allowed to have Application Manager, and Front Desk didn't 
explain me any of that.

> Also, note that being a DM lets you get experience with parts of Debian
> that you cannot without being a DM, specifically the process of doing
> direct uploads and unattended and unreviewed work in Debian.  They're not
> major things, and I don't think they're absolute requirements for
> applying to be a DD in all cases, but it's still experience and there's
> no point in turning it down, IMO.

Well, I followed the procedures, I'm waiting for it to be approved.

> > Also, Christoph Berg and the rest of the Front Desk understand it like
> > me, since they apply the "unofficial policy" of requiring DM, he said
> > that very clearly.  If they had understand it like you, it would not be
> > unnofficial policy, it would be official.
> This line of argument is just not going to go anywhere.
> The job of the Front Desk, and the New Maintainer process, is not like a
> legal process where you are following a set of exhaustively documented
> and completely rigorous and unchanging steps, at the end of which you
> become a Debian Developer.  Part of the job of all of the Front Desk,
> the application managers, and the Debian Account Manager is inherently
> subjective.  The process needs to judge, at least to some extent, social
> and procedural skills as well as technical capability, since the goal is
> to ensure contributors will fit in with a collective and shared project.
> The New Maintainer process, for good or ill, is a lot of work for all
> parties involved.  One of the things that reduces that work is to have
> people demonstrate their technical work and their judgement when making
> unreviewed uploads via the Debian Maintainer process.  You can certainly
> ask for special consideration of your work without following that path if
> you feel it is warranted, but the Front Desk does not have unlimited
> amounts of time.

If you mean that I was rejected because I required more time from Front 
Desk, I don't think that's true.

Instead of looking to "Maintainer" or "Uploaders" field, all I was asking is 
to just look at a few entries in a changelog, approved by the maintainer of 
the package himself who is a Debian Developer since very long ago, and who 
was the person who uploaded the package.

I wouldn't think that Front Desk job checks are OK just by checking those 
fields, because they're clearly misleading in many packages.  That maybe 
explains why some "AM reports" tell things like "Person ABC maintains 30 
packages" when that person didn't do any upload of half of them for years 
(maybe upon closer investigation they do part of the job in a revision even 
if they don't upload the package, let's not enter in that discussion).

(I'm not particularly interested in continuing to discuss this part --or 
indeed, anything else--.  Let it be.)

> > I planned to do all this (except the MIA procedure, which is a bit
> > muddy and unclear to me, and the developer is not really MIA), and
> > planned to put myself on those fields (Maintainer, Uploader, whatever)
> > when I was a real DD or a real DM, not when I'm doing it unofficially.
> Please don't wait, on either of those.

OK, I'll do that.

Cheers and thanks again.
Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo <manuel.montezelo@gmail.com>

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