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Re: On a policy for non-debian foss content in a mini debconf

Pirate Praveen dijo [Mon, Sep 08, 2014 at 05:13:49PM +0530]:
> > Hi, Praveen and Shirish (and Indian Debian Users),
> > Well, a DebConf is about Debian, and I mostly agree with Steve's
> > answer: Not just any Linux conference should be called a DebConf or
> > MiniDebConf. There has to be a Debian "slant" to the conference as a whole.
> The slant here is that it is organized by the debian community, with the
> intention of getting more participation in debian. The contention here
> is giving the local community a chance to share their free software
> contribution on this platform.

OK. That sounds somewhat similar to the example I gave you in Panama.

> Thanks for your comments. But it seems some random DDs are more equal
> than other random DDs.

I took a short dive in the last days of the debian-dug-in
archives. The flames do not seem fun :-( I am not going into your
internal politics, of course, and will not read it all.

> (...)
> I propose we call it Debian Utsav(am) (it is festival in many Indian
> languages). "Free Software festival by Debian".
> Having a general free software conference and having a debian track
> doesn't reflect this tilt correctly. I don't see, "no one ever done this
> before" or "it is silly because all debconfs have been this way", is a
> valid justification to stopping us from trying this under debconf.

I know the value of symbolism and of names (and yes, I read Shirish's
mail about symbolism). But, if this appeases your community better, go
for it. A name is just a name.

If the aim of the conference is to get more people involved in using
Debian and getting involved in free software, probably the best name
is not DebConf. If the aim is to get people involved in making Debian
better, maybe gathering volunteers to present a DebConf bid, talk
about how development is made in Debian, and so on — Then DebConf *is*
the right name.

But, of course, even agreeing on the goals of an activity is not
easy. All of the organizers and invited people have *slightly*
different interests and understand things *slightly* different. That's
just human nature.

> I am surprised fedora community is more open in this respect, I had
> given a talk on diaspora at fudcon 2011, which was organized in Pune.
> [1] You can see many free software talks not directly related to fedora
> there [2]. Now if the argument is, we have always done debconf this way
> and any change in content would be opposed tooth and nail, I rest my case.
> I can clearly see the benefit to fedora in such a format and I believe
> debian would also benefit from such a format.

There is an important difference starting in the name and definition
themselves: FUDCon is the "Fedora Users and Developers
Conference"¹. DebConf is the "Annual Debian Development
Conference". DebConf is about developing Debian, not about finding use
cases for it.

¹ https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FUDCon
² http://debconf.org/

And you might lack context here: We had this discussion a long time
ago. When we were discussing where to host DebConf7, the two competing
countries were Scotland and Bosnia. One of the points in favor of
going to Bosnia was helping a much-less-developed community get
involved in Debian (while a corresponding point in favor of Scotland
was that it was much easier to reach for developers everywhere).

We had a tough discussion, and came to the conclusion that a criteria
for DebConf should be what's better for *Debian development*. Helping
local communities grow is a worthy goal, but secondary for this

So, FUDCon and DebConf have clearly different goals, and that explains
your surprise.

> The point of me bringing the discussion to -project is to have an
> official policy on the issue, so we don't have to evaluate which random
> DD is more equal.

OK. I don't like the way this was done. It leads to this discussion
starting as confrontational, and that's not somewhere I'm going
into. If DDs already working with you for this feel alienated by this,
it's not up to me (or to -project) to "correct" their opinions. It is
a social issue in your group, and I don't believe the project as a
whole should be dragged into this.

> I also would like to hear from the DPL and DebConf chairs on this issue.
> A clear indication on this would help us make the correct choices soon
> as the event date is coming very close (October 17th).

Right. But some considerations:

• The DebConf chairs are chairs for *DebConf* (I know this sounds
  obvious). The chairs have often been involved in MiniDebConfs, but
  not always (and never all of them — During the ~three years I was a
  chair, I only got involved in Panamá. And I'm not sure the
  delegation was already officially in place). The chairs' delegated
  authority³ is *mainly* about handling Debian assets and as a
  last-resort tie-breaking decision body.

• Given the discussion is about a Debian-related name, the DPL should
  IMO at least give his opinion. However, DebConf is *not* a Debian
  trademark. FWIW you could make a sushi-eating contest and call it
  DebConf; Debian has no authority to make you desist from it.

• The discussion should follow in the relevant list (debian-dug-in),
  not in debian-project.

I do not intend to answer to any further mails on this topic in
debian-project, and am sorry I did without getting further
context. This mail is sent here as there is already an answer from me
here already, but will be the last.

³ https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2014/08/msg00004.html

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