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Re: Be nice to your fellow Debian colleagues

Hi Aron, hi everyone,

Aron Xu - 31.12.19, 15:57:22 CET:
> On Sun, Dec 29, 2019 at 5:00 AM Ondřej Surý <ondrej@sury.org> wrote:
> > the init systemd GR is over and we have reached the results in a
> > democratic way by following Debian Constitution. However following
> > the process is orthogonal to our opinions, positions we took, and
> > our feelings. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be nice to
> > each other, have a lot of compassion and not be condescending,
> > whatever group you belong to.
> > 
> > So, I am sending hugs to all my fellow Debian colleagues no matter
> > whether the are pro-systemd, anti-systemd, anything in between, or
> > something completely different. Happy new year to all of you and
> > the Debian project as whole.
> Thank you for saying so.
> Some moments I felt quite heart broken to see Debian is at some level
> of risk that the project rarely faced before. We might hold different
> opinions, techinical or perceptional, such diversity is a strength of
> our community and we could to cherish it by being nice to our fellow
> people.

I am sad that already one Debian developer decided to leave the project 
over the result of this GR. One of them who tirelessly worked on fixing 
bugs for sysvinit bringing it to a state of exceptionally high quality 
when you consider what is left over in the Debian bug tracker. So 
sysvinit users in Debian and probably in Devuan lost, that is clear 
already – unless someone else steps up which given the outcome of this 
GR I see as unlikely.

However, that does not really surprise me. It was one of the possible 
outcomes of this GR I clearly warned about. The GR had several options 
that are clearly "win-loose", and these in my eyes are never good for a 
project. Also in my opinion emotional exhaustion is a bad reason to 
actually have had this GR. It is a bad reason cause it justifies 
excluding the friction that apparently (!) – nothing external ever 
causes an emotion it is always *my* reaction to it – caused the 
emotional exhaustion. It does not go into a process of truly resolving 
the friction, but instead goes about kind of silencing one side of it. 
It can be very easily use as an argument to exclude people and 

I for myself am not sure how much I will feel at home with Debian 
anymore. With the option chosen it all depends on the good will of the 
ones who "won" with this option. This good will from what I saw has been 
quite limited in the past. The outcome of the GR may be harmful to both 
the Devuan *and* the Debian community. Cause any popcon stats posted 
here usually did not include Devuan popcon stats – for example 3 of my 4 
own systems are Devuan already. And the election would only contain 
those votes of Devuan developers who are also Debian developers. So I 
believe the probable "loose" group of people of the outcome of the GR is 
bigger than you can see by the vote results or Debian popcon stats. And 
we also do not know how users feel about it, still having Systemd 
installed is *not* a vote. It may be coping as everything else in Debian 
is connected with some additional risk of breakage – that said I use 
elogind on Debian since more than half a year already, things just work.

Of course it is also a high risk for Devuan itself. Devuan may fail due 
to the outcome of the GR… and then all those who are left out by the 
result of this GR may not have a good Debian like home after all anymore 
and would be left over… with either coping with Debian… partly 
unwillingly… or switching to another distribution… or… I don't know.

Also if Devuan does not fail there they may need to deviate from Debian 
much more than they do by now. Which would reduce the amount of possible 
collaboration. Which again would be bad for both Debian and Devuan.

I am prepared to switch over the last of my machines to Devuan which may 
mean that I'd drop package maintenance for Debian. I am not yet clear 
about it. It depends on the practical results of the GR which is very 
much dependent of what people will make out it. Especially those people 
who "won" with this GR. And it also depends on how much Devuan and 
Debian will deviate from each other. I may even decide to maintain my 
packages for Devuan and then Debian would have to do the porting work or 
find another maintainer. That said, my few packages have no need for a 
Systemd dependency and as long I maintain them, there won't be one. But 
it is more about whether I will really feel at home with Debian. Even if 
I could technically still contribute to Debian, if it feels like 
contributing to something that appears more and more alienating from 
what Debian was for me so far I may stop. I am not using RHEL or SLES or 
any other purely Systemd based distribution for a reason. 

Of course, it would have been the other way around if one of the 
Sysvinit favoring options would have won. And that is the whole issue of 
the GR. It has "win-loose" options and some lost now. Some options in it 
were not about diversity, but about exclusion. Again: Some options in it 
were not about diversity, but about exclusion.

Anyway, I am no Debian developer and thus the only voice I could raise 
is here… and by freely choosing what I contribute to and use. My 
motivation to ever become a Debian developer is zero by now – not only 
due to this GR. And in the long run Debian may also loose me as a user. 
A difficult decision as I have bonds with the Qt/KDE team in Debian and 
would like to continue to work with them, even if just on the occasional 
base I do at the moment.

Let's see about the practical outcome of the GR. Right now I think it 
did not serve the highest good of the Debian community. It did not 
resolve conflict and it may probably not even succeed in silencing it. In 
fact I believe as long as all those who prefer to use something else 
than Systemd, and thus also the Hurd and kFreeBSD people, do not have a 
new home there will still be friction. The outcome of the GR did not 
magically make that friction disappear. It is still there. So I am not 
sure anymore whether this whole GR even had a point.

If this is a victory for some or who knows even a majority in my point 
of view it has been a very expensive one.

Anyway, it is what it is, and I welcome that as well as best as I can. 
Knowing that I can freely decide what my personal consequences may be.

Be nice to your fellow Debian colleagues so or so is a good idea. It is 
*always* a good idea. Mutuality and harmlessness go a long, long way.

All the best to Debian. I do see *quite* some challenges ahead. Most of 
them, if not all of them *community* related. Parts of the Debian 
community are hurting and are hurting since quite some time. Again not 
just due to the topic in this GR, but also for other reasons.

All the best for resolving at least some of those community related 
issues in 2020.

Have a Happy New Year!


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