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Re: Questions for the candidates

On Sun, Mar 03, 2002 at 09:42:55PM +0100, Cord Beermann wrote:
> Branden: You made some (to my opinion) very rude and overreacting
>   statements against other People namely against 'Jack Howarth'
>   (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2001/debian-devel-announce-200112/msg00008.html)

I don't see what's particularly rude about the above message.

It warned other Debian Developers that he was proposing "fixes" to bug
reports that were erroneous and would cause problems for the quality of
our distribution of adopted.  The issues with SDL were, unfortunately,
not simple, and required careful consideration.  After an approach was
agreed upon by all the package maintainers, Mr. Howarth came along and
attempted to reverse that consensus.

Consider: what if somebody filed a bug against every package that
shipped files in /usr/share/doc and told the package maintainers to move
these files to /usr/doc instead?  It would undermine Debian Policy.

When people give bad advice to package maintainers, these things need to
be pointed out.

The message is humorously hyperbolic, but I freely admit that my sense
of humor may not be shared by everyone.

The bottom line, however, is that the situation has been rectified, and
as far as I can tell, Mr. Howarth is no longer asking the maintainers of
SDL library packages to implement broken solutions.  Therefore, I don't
have a problem with him and I hope he continues to contribute to Debian
in some positive way.

>   and 'Michael Bramer'
>   (http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2001/debian-vote-200110/msg00000.html).

Again, I don't see what's particularly rude about this message.

Despite many, many requests, Mr. Bramer had not stopped sending large
quantities of automated mails to Debian developers.  The Debian Machine
Usage Policy specifically forbids this sort of behavior:

  You may not advertise your WWW pages, or cause another person to
  advertise it, by techniques that would be classified as abuse if they
  were carried out from a Debian Account. This includes, but is not
  limited to, bulk emailing and excessive news posting. Such action may be
  treated under the appropriate DMUP as if it had been done from the
  Account, or as a violation of this DMUP or both.

(See <http://www.debian.org/devel/dmup> for more information.)

The DSA team had not elected to take action to stop this activity, so I
exercised the only power available to me as a Debian Developer, which
was to propose a General Resolution.  I didn't exactly expect the issue
to come to a vote; my intent was to raise the profile of his activity to
the point where he would change his approach to the bulk emailing, or to
attract the attention of the DSA team and/or DPL so that they would take

The bottom line, however, is that the situation has been rectified, and
as far as I can tell, Mr. Bramer is no longer sending such emails to
developers who do not wish to receive them.  Therefore, I don't have a
problem with him and I hope he continues to contribute to Debian;
especially with respect to internationalization and localization issues,
which is very important work.  It is unfortunate that some of our
packaging infrastructure and tools don't have the i18n and l10n support
that many Debian users would like to see.  As DPL, I'd like to do what I
can to encourage development along these lines.

>   Is this the style dealing with problems, we have to expect from you
>   as DPL?

As DPL, you can expect me to take action when I see that our policies,
or the quality of our distribution, are being threatened.  However, you
need only expect me to act as DPL on such issues as a last resort.  Most
of the time, I think problems like the ones you point out can be
addressed by ordinary Debian Developers, or by the DSA team.

Please see the first item in my platform, "THE DEBIAN PROJECT LEADER'S
DELEGATES"; you can read it at

As DPL, I'd like to focus on big-picture items that are beyond the scope
of an individual developer's responsibilities.  I'd like to delegate as
much as is reasonable, especially the administration of disciplinary
procedures against developers (which is a power currently vested in the
DSA team, and is not one which I would want to reserve to myself as
DPL).  Developer misbehavior is a rare thing, and in most instances has
been handled rapidly and admirably by the DSA team; this is why you
don't see it as a point on my platform.  I don't think we have anything
approaching an endemic problem with developer misconduct.  (I *do* think
we have a problem with some developers not doing anything at all -- see
the second item in my platform.)

Debian is very good at handling day-to-day business without the personal
involvement of the Project Leader exercising his unique powers; how
often did you see, for example, Ben Collins, Wichert Akkerman, or Ian
Jackson exercising their powers as Project Leader?  It certainly wasn't
on a daily basis.  Most of us dealt with them far for frequently in
their capacities as package maintainers.

I think both of the situations you cite are examples of inter-developer
relationships, and not the sort of thing that I, as DPL, would need to
involve myself with except in extraordinary circumstances.

As DPL, you can expect the same level of courtesy and professionalism
from me that you have seen from me as SPI Treasurer.  If you have any
concerns with the way I've handled my responsibilities as SPI Treasurer,
I urge you to bring them to my attention as soon as possible.

G. Branden Robinson                |     Communism is just one step on the
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     long road from capitalism to
branden@debian.org                 |     capitalism.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- Russian saying

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