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Re: Upstream guide and front desk

On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 01:17:12PM +1200, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> I gave a talk[0] at Debconf10 about my experiences switching from
> being a Debian developer to being an upstream developer.
> As part of that talk I suggested two things:

Thanks for reporting on -project about that very nice talk of yours!

> For the second thing, I propose an "upstream front desk" of some sort.
> Stefano, in his role as the DPL, agreed that it would be good. The UFD
> would be the point of first contact for new upstreams, and would guide
> them to the right people in Debian to help them with the packaging of
> the upstream software.
> I am not sure what the best way to implement the UFD would be. Perhaps
> a mailing list (debian-upstream?) with a few volunteers would be a good 
> start? If this gets created, I'll join. Anyone else like to help with 
> that?

Sharing the experience of the derivatives front desk [1] here might be
useful. The original idea (initially proposed during a discussion slot
about relationship with Debian at last Ubuntu developer summit) was to
have a contact point that could be mailed asking how to contribute
derivatives work back to Debian. That contact point now exists and is

As I didn't liked the idea of having a tightly controlled behind that,
I've checked with DSA and listmasters and they were so kind to set up
derivatives@d.o as an alias pointing to the debian-derivatives@lists.d.o
mailing list. I haven't yet made a proper evaluation of that choice, but
for sure it had the following positive effects:

1) people willing to help in the derivatives front-desk can simply join
   the list, which is as low footprint as it can be

2) the list has been "hacked" and has de facto also become a discussion
   list where topics of cross-distro collaboration get discussed among
   list participants

3) archive of both inquiries and discussions are publicly archived, in
   the open

Now, I've no idea if the above would be appropriate for the upstream
front desk or not. I leave it up to you to decide whether it's worth
trying or not.

The alternative solution is setting up upstream@debian.org as a simple
mail alias pointing to the interested volunteers.

(I don't know whether we currently have an easy way to have both that,
i.e. no mailing list, and a public visible archive of the inbound
traffic of that mail alias. If we do, that might be an interesting way
in between. Of course we will the need to advertise that where the
contact address is advertised.)

No matter the technical solution, once it is done, we absolutely need to
send out a Debian News item / press release about that. It is our best
chance to increase awareness of the initiative within upstreams.


[1] http://wiki.debian.org/DerivativesFrontDesk

Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Quando anche i santi ti voltano le spalle, |  .  |. I've fans everywhere
ti resta John Fante -- V. Caposella .......| ..: |.......... -- C. Adams

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