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Re: Upstream guide and front desk

On la, 2010-08-21 at 15:47 +0300, George Danchev wrote:
> I just wonder what this list would be meant to serves which can't be deemed 
> suitable for -mentors. Many upstreams (regardless they have any preliminary 
> packages of their software or not) already use -mentors for entering Debian 
> one way or another. It might be that too much separation might accidently 
> introduce some confusion amongst the targeted consumers. I'm not opposing to a 
> yet another mailing list per se, so please decipher that more like a question, 
> rather than objection.

debian-mentors is an excellent list for an upstream to participate in if
they have a package, or are making one, and need help with that. For
many upstreams, that's not the first thing they need: they might only
have just heard of Debian, and making a package is much further down the
road. Some possible questions:

* "We heard about Debian, and are wondering if it would be a good idea
to have our software included."

* "People tell us Debian does not want our software, because it is hard
to maintain. What's up with that? With whom should we talk about these

* "There's an old version of our software in Debian, and we are tired of
supporting it. What should we do to get it removed?"

* "We'd like our software included in Debian. We don't know anything
about packaging. Where can we learn more about this?"

* "The Debian developer who maintained packages of our software in
Debian has disappeared. Do you know how to contact them? Or can you help
us find someone else?"

These are the kinds of questions that upstreams who are not already
closely involved with Debian have.

The point of the upstream front desk is not to replace existing
communication channels, but to make sure there's a single easy way for
upstreams to get in touch with Debian. The upstream front desk can then
direct them to the relevant people, or the appropriate documentation.

My interest in this stems from being retired from Debian for about a
year and spending some time upstream. I experienced a little bit how
hard it can be to approach a large project like Debian, even when Debian
has extensive documentation on various web sites and wikis, plus lots of
mailing lists, IRC channels, web forums, and other places for
discussions. Or perhaps that's part of the difficulty: there's so much
available that it's hard to get started.

I don't know if having an upstream front desk will solve this, but I
expect it will be helpful. If not, we can decide it's a failed
experiment and end it.

Here's what I'm hoping will happen:

* We get more motivated, committed upstreams involved with Debian.

* More upstreams understand how to make software that is easy to
integrate into a Linux distribution.

For the latter, the wiki page is an excellent resource, and the more
ways we have of getting upstream developers to read it, the better.

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