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Developer / maintainer /member

On Mon, 11 Mar 2002, Mark Johnson wrote:

> Hairy developer status is not required. Only membership.
> Your point is valid if the only "members" of the organization known as
> the Debian Project are those with the official title of
> "developer". If this is indeed the case, then of course I withdraw my
> offer, as I am only a humble maintainer and my $250 donation to
> Debian's membership then wouldn't even get me an OASIS
> membership. (Hey, I'm not that generous.) That can't be how it
> works. If it is, it's absurd:)
> Maintainers are members, right?

'Scuse my abysmal ignorance showing here -- but please could someone
at this point give an authoritative definition of what constitutes a:

- Debian developer
- Debian maintainer
- member of Debian project (SPI member?)

I'm not being awkward or anything (I'm just getting more confused by
the minute :~); just seeking clarification for my own personal

[This is because from a personal point of view, I simply can't summon up
the intellectual curiosity or energy to get all fired up about packaging
software (hell, 8,500+ packages is way more than I need, anyhow -- why
contribute more?; and the only stuff I'd be remotely interested in
packaging is all already very well taken care of, thankyou); -- BUT --
given the opportunity, I might be able to get quite excited at the
prospect of producing / 'packaging' _documentation_ for Debian for some
of those packages.  (Or anything else, for that matter.)
Which being a 'maintainer' or 'member' might enable me to do?
In fact, I already 'maintain' a HOWTO for the LDP (does this make me a
maintainer? if so, who for?); and mess around with ways and means of
trying to improve the Linux documentation process (a couple of
wikiwebs)-- and am a rabid Debian advocate in both my personal and
professional activities (Linux systems support and training).  But
somehow I don't seem to be able to contribute anything acceptable to
the Debian process, without first having to go through a lot of
irrelevant stuff I should have to pretend to learn simply in order to
get developer status (as a packager); but which I'm frankly not
interested in, and don't need (as a documentalist).
So, my question is -- in what way does becoming a maintainer differ
from going through the developer process?  And why does developer status
seem to be considered to be akin to that of fighter-pilot; whilst that
of maintainer is considered to be somewhere down at oik level?  Do
hairy program packagers have to mark up their program's documentation
in DocBook SGML?  XML?  So many questions ... ]

All answers welcome.

Slightly Confused, of Glastonbury
Martin Wheeler <mwheeler@startext.co.uk> gpg:1024D/01269BEB the.earth.li

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