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Re: Creating a Debian Spending proposals and discussion mailing list


On Fri, 02 Apr 2021, Phil Morrell wrote:
> 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.

That's a simple way to ensure some basic level of support to an idea
or some way to gauge whether a need is shared by multiple persons.

But it doesn't really help to turn those ideas into actionable projects
that can be funded.

It's OK when the project is as simple as "give 5 KEUR to peertube" but
definitely not enough when the idea is "build a web interface to manage
Debian reimbursement request" (taking an example that I just got on

I would be saddened if this system turned only into a way to give our
money to other free software projects instead of using that money to help
us towards our common mission.

> 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.

It's certainly good to lower the barrier for proposals but for your Kotlin
example, the issue is more "who will be paid to to the work"? Someone has to
select a winning bid and having that kind of responsibility within Debian
is the historical friction point related to use of money in Debian.

I tried to solve this by defining up-front for each project who will be
the reviewer and thus the person who will have to select the winning bid
(in cooperation with the person/organization who will pay the bill). Or by
encouraging developers to propose projects that they want to implement
themselves... so that there's no choice of person to make, it's more a "do we
want this project at this time" and it can be answered collectively
(in Freexian's case by the paid LTS contributors since it's money saved
from the offering where they are involved).

> 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.

IMO the bulk of the work is not in finding ideas, but on transforming
them into actionable projects, and on selecting which project can have the
largest impact on Debian.

That said I would welcome if we could query the Debian developers at
large to find out what kind of ideas/changes would be most beneficial
to Debian.

  ⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀   Raphaël Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org>
  ⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋    The Debian Handbook: https://debian-handbook.info/get/
  ⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀   Debian Long Term Support: https://deb.li/LTS

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