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my "platform"

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My name is Bdale Garbee, and I ask you to elect me as your next Debian 
Project Leader.  Since I'm sure some of you are curious, Bdale is a contraction
of Barksdale, and I pronounce it "Bee-Dale".  

The role of the DPL as defined by our constitution and experience is important
but limited, with the majority of the power to act rightfully left in the 
hands of developers.  I therefore believe our DPL selection process should 
focus primarily on the identification of an individual with good character, 
strong technical leadership abilities, and passion for our goals. 

I am 37 years old, and was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA.  I graduated from
Carnegie Mellon University in 1986 with a degree in Computer Engineering and 
Mathematics, and what might elsewhere be called a minor in Poetry.  I work for
Agilent Technologies [1] in Colorado Springs, and live in the nearby rural 
community of Black Forest with my wife and two children. 

I built my first computer system around an RCA 1802 in 1977, winning various
school science fair prizes with it.  During high school, I worked part-time 
for a data center running jobs on mainframes that still used punched cards,
then for a local Apple Computer dealership.  During college, I worked in the
CMU computer center writing system software for Dec-20 and Vax systems, and
maintained Kermit for the Apple 2 and CP/M.  Before leaving Pittsburgh, I 
worked as the operating system and device driver specialist for Renaissance
Systems, a company that consulted on a variety of robotics and embedded systems
projects.  "For fun", I served for a year as Chief Engineer and then two years
as General Manager of WRCT-FM, the eclectic all-volunteer campus radio station
at CMU.  I mention this because I credit much of what I know about how to 
focus volunteer energy and motivate people to my time at WRCT.

My first Unix login was to a Vax 11/750 running BSD 4.1 in 1982 or 1983, and I
have lived on and worked to improve one or another flavor ever since.

I joined Agilent Technologies in 1986, when we were still part of Hewlett-
Packard.  I manage a team that architects and maintains technical computing 
infrastructure for R&D and Manufacturing engineers who build electronic test 
and measurement instruments.

My other significant time-sink is amateur radio, where my callsign is now 
KB0G.  In the 1980's, I contributed in various ways to the development of the 
KA9Q TCP/IP package, deployed world-wide on networks of amateur radio links. 
More recently, I helped design, build, and program various payloads for the 
AMSAT AO-40 satellite. [2]  I also enjoy making weak-signal contacts from 
remote locations during VHF and Microwave contests. [3]

I have been a passionate supporter of, and participant in, the development of
Free Software since before we knew that's what it was supposed to be called.
Early on, I contributed 1802 programs to Ipso Facto (a "community newsletter" 
for 1802 system owners), shared all of my work on Kermit and the KA9Q package,
and contributed modem dialer code to the BSD uucp sources.  I have known for 
many years that life is too short to waste frustrated by secret-source 

I first discovered Debian in early 1995.  I was looking for an operating 
system an international team could use to develop an amateur satellite 
payload.  Bruce Perens was working on the Linux for Hams project based on 
Debian, and it thus seemed like a natural choice.  I quickly became excited 
about what the Debian community of that time was trying to accomplish, and 
contributed my first package in October of 1995.  By November, Bruce was 
asking me to help figure out how to improve our distribution server structure,
in December I adopted the base/essential tar and gzip packages, and by January
of 1996 I had built and deployed the first master.debian.org system.

While I haven't been involved with the day to day operation of our server 
network for several years, my level of commitment to Debian has continued to
grow.  I currently maintain about 3 dozen packages, including several which 
are base/essential.  I made early contributions to the porting of Debian to 5 
non-i386 architectures, and am currently very involved in the Debian ports to 
PA-RISC and IA-64.  I have spoken publicly about Free Software and Debian at 
various amateur radio and Linux meetings, with some interesting results (see 
below).  And, I have personally mentored and sponsored a number of new 
developers over the years.

The recent instantiation of "package pools" and the associated integration of
a 'testing' release has given me a great deal of satisfaction, since the basic
idea of treating our master server like a cache, the term "package pool", and
the idea that we need at least three Packages lists our users can point to
are all things I introduced or helped establish in the Debian community. [4][5]
To be clear, I did none of the work on what got implemented, but I'd like to 
think that my early vision and passionate support of the package pool concept 
(and what it enables for the future!) helped in some small way to make it 
finally happen.  

I'm very pleased with what the Debian community has managed to accomplish so
far.  Our reputation has steadily grown, and particularly over the last year
it seems that our efforts and contribution are becoming more broadly 

The biggest frustrations I see with Debian are, in fact, all related to this 
success.  We have more developers than ever, more packages soaking more 
bandwidth to mirror than ever, more open bugs than ever, and our user 
community is broadening into areas where the criteria for success may be 
different.  This puts enormous pressure on our organization, forcing us to 
continue to evolve.  Various members of our community are thinking hard about
these issues, and discussing what needs to change in our rules and 
infrastructure.  I follow or participate in a number of these discussions.  As
the DPL, my goal would be to help identify those ideas most likely to succeed,
support and "market" them, then help and encourage the work.

Debian is the best "existence proof" to date of the viability of the community 
development model.  As long as we each "scratch our own itches" not only in 
the software we author or maintain, but also with respect to Debian's larger
issues, we need not fear our future.  The pool of raw talent represented by 
our list of registered developers and those who might join us is awe-inspiring,
and if focussed and motivated by the right kind of leadership, can and will
overcome whatever obstacles appear.

On a personal level, there are a number of interesting possibilities enabled 
by the package pool concept and the related idea of Debian "flavors" that I 
have talked about at various times in the past.  These include explicit 
support for subset distributions (Debian Jr, Debian for Hams, etc), and ways 
that we could encourage and support more direct contributions of labor and 
resources from computer companies interested in supporting Linux on their 
systems.  I want to see these possibilities explored, and will channel some 
of my energy in this direction if nobody else gets there first!

I am proud of my contributions to Debian and the larger Free Software 
community.  Serving as Debian Project Leader feels like a natural step in my
ongoing advocacy and support of our efforts.  My casual approach to leadership 
may seem relaxed on the surface, but it has proven effective, and underneath
lurks an intense passion.  I try to keep my interactions with others positive, 
take long-term views, and strive to always do "the right thing" regardless of
the politics of the moment.  Treating others the way I'd like to be treated
myself seems like such a simple notion, and yet I think our project would
benefit if more of us actually did it.

Someone in the amateur satellite community recently sent me the following via

	"About three years ago in Toronto, you gave a life altering talk 
	on Free Software at the AMSAT symposium.

	Lo these many years later, I am profoundly committed to Free 
	Software and Linux, and have you to thank for whole intellectual 
	rollercoaster ride."

That really made my day, and does again every time I read it.  I'm serious 
about my belief in Free Software, and serious about Debian's potential to be
the obvious choice for a ubiquitous computing platform in the future.  I think
my actions since 1995 demonstrate both my intensity of commitment to Debian,
and my ability to get things done.  There is much more to do, but with your 
support I am confident we can together excite and delight our ever-growing 
community of users!

Thank you for your attention.

 [1] http://www.agilent.com/
 [2] http://www.amsat.org/amsat/sats/ao40/
 [3] http://www.gag.com/code/rover/
 [4] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-9805/msg01632.html
 [5] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-9805/msg01721.html

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