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Creating a Debian Spending proposals and discussion mailing list

Hi all, moving off -vote and heavily trimming, original thread here:


On Thu, 18 Mar 2021, Philip Hands wrote:
> On Thu, 18 Mar 2021, Jonathan Carter wrote:
> > I think as things stand now, every DD pretty much already has the entire
> > Debian budget available at their disposal if they can think of a way to
> > spend it that benefits the project.
> I was reflecting on the way the Peertube funding was achieved.
> There were enough people keen on that happening that if we'd each had an
> earmarked e.g. 1k budget to allocate, we could have just agreed it
> amongst ourselves, and done it

On Sun, 21 Mar 2021, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> On Thu, 18 Mar 2021, Philip Hands wrote:
> > On Thu, 18 Mar 2021, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > > I'm considering paying someone to identify useful
> > > projects. That person could talk to various teams, make proposals based on
> > > their own experience, and even run a poll among Debian developers.
> > 
> > I've been pondering how it might be possible to spend more of Debian's
> > money, and it occurred to me that we could allocate a budget to each DD
> > which they could spend on pretty-much anything
> > 
> > Encouraging people to pool their budgets to fund bigger things would
> > hopefully result in them forming teams of mentors to oversee the work.
> I really like your idea! I wonder if there would be some infrastructure
> that would make it easy to describe projects and track how much money
> has been allocated by the various DD.
> But if we find something usable, we could have a volunteer in charge of
> entering the "votes" of the DD by adjusting a Debian pledge in a open
> system (and have some associated ledger where the DD allocations are
> tracked).

This whole idea inspired me, so if just a couple of DDs agree with the
below, I'm hereby volunteering to do the admin work involved.

I've thought about what such a system could look like, perhaps signed
commits to a salsa project or a simple site like mentors. I came to the
conclusion that there's already a working system in place for counting
DD support of suggestions. debian-vote has proposals, low-bureaucracy
seconders, and the Project Secretary validating signatures.

I propose creating an experimental debian-spending mailing list based on
the same rules to test this idea. The equivalent of the GR here would be
a filled out project proposal for consideration by the DPL or Freexian.
I'd have to do more research on the process first, since I haven't
interacted with the voting system myself. Taking the peertube example:

	Alice: Proposal: Video team needs peertube v3 to support streaming
	Bob: Amendment: Donate €20,000 to the public fundraising campaign
	Carol: Seconded: Bob
	Dan?: Seconded: Bob
	Erin: Amendment: Donate €10,000 to the public fundraising campaign
	emorrp1: Dan you forgot to sign
	Frank: Seconded: Erin
	Dan: Seconded: Bob
	... etc.

I would then send an email to the DPL (or fill out the Freexian
template) with the project details and the list of signatories. The
outcome could be absolutely anything of course - the DPL could see that
30 people supported 10k and 10 people 20k, but they know that the budget
can handle 15k and do that, the point is to have a concrete proposal.

Another example is that debian-android-tools has all the DD availability
for sponsoring Kotlin uploads, and most initial work done by GSoC
students, but no-one had free time to work on it betwen Oct and Mar. Now
it turns out that no less than 3 other teams are depending/awaiting a
kotlin upload: Java, Freedombox for Jitsi, Games for Mindustry. That's a
lot of potential DDs who could have seconded a tender for a third-party
contractor to bid on say a week to a month's work.

I think this will lower the barrier for proposals. I looked up what the
current process is and it's literally "email the DPL and convince them",
which could be offputting without knowing how many other people support
your idea. Similarly I would expect a lot of teams to know their own
problem areas but be unaware of the level of support outside the team
through multiple levels of reverse dependencies.

Hopefully that's enough to convince you, and it's clear I'm only
offering to do the administration, not make any actual decisions. I'd
also like to help the list get started in a personal capacity by digging
up old BudgetIdeas and writing up proposals say once a week.

This doesn't block implementing the idea of a per-DD budget later. Say,
€100pm and the Seconders include how many months of their allocation
they wish to spend on a project. I could include the total in the email
to DPL, or feedback to the list that a project has reached 50% funding
and needs more Seconders, or if they've exceeded the budget just include
them in the signatories with a sum of 0.
Phil Morrell (emorrp1)

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