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Re: Debian training and code review

On Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 09:59:36AM +0100, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> This reminds me: it would be good to improve not just the quality of
> our packages, but our developers.

Absolutely true!

> At the moment, pretty much all training is handled by each developer
> themselves: they read documentation, or source, and experiment with
> things. They might write some blog posts, or mail a list, or something.
> This often works, but I'm sure we can do better.

Shameless plug: we can do better also in documentation writing.
Sometimes it happens for instance that pieces of documentations are
delivered via mailing list and not stored in more durable places. A
first workaround for that is indexing those mails in teams pages
(e.g. wiki.debian.org/Teams/...), but consolidating documentation in
appropriate guide is even better.  I don't have any specific "action" to
propose to improve on that front, but it something that we should all
keep in mind: storing documentation where appropriate contributes a lot
in forming developers, reducing the time spent by others to that end.

> Ubuntu has "developer weeks", where various people give hour-long IRC
> training sessions on various topics. We could join them, or have our
> own. Or we could have ad-hoc training sessions, like Debian-Women has
> done, and and is starting to do again.
> In addition to training, some collaborative code review might be
> helpful. debian-mentors is one good place for that, and asking on IRC on
> #debian-devel would work too.
> What do others think?

I think it would be wonderful to have our own chat teaching sessions
similar to the "developer weeks" you've mentioned. I'm sure we have all
the needed ingredients to have them. We "just" lack a group of people
stepping forward to do the needed organization and communication.

At the same time, quite some of the "classes" taught during Ubuntu
developer weeks applies to Debian, although not all of them
(e.g. packaging techniques are mostly the same, whereas bug manipulation
are completely different). The best synergy I envisage on that front is
mutual communication of the schedule of "classes", so that people from
one distro can join classes of the other and vice-versa. Ideally, the
common topics between Debian and Ubuntu are common also to any other
Debian-based distro out there, so it's worth to try to reach out their
"students" (and "teachers") as well.

Last comment: no matter whether we develop our own classes or not, it'll
always be useful to participate in teaching sessions of Debian-based
distros to explain how to collaborate with and give back to
Debian. We've done so in the past already with Ubuntu (IIRC Rhonda has
held a session about that during one of the latest "developer week") and
I hope it'll continue in the future.


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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