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QUESTIONNAIRE: Debian Project Leadership



[Reply-To is set.  This message is written with the intention of
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as well, go ahead.]

Hi folks,

As has happened at least twice in the past, I am wrestling with the
decision of whether or not to declare myself as a candidate for Debian
Project Leader.  Several people have exhorted me to run again this year,
but the fact that I have run unsuccessfully twice before also tells me
that this is not a universally-held position.  :)

It has occurred to me that this is not a decision I should make in a
vacuum.  You, the Debian Developers and enfranchisees -- more simply,
the voters -- can help me to make this decision, and help me to be a
better DPL should I run and win.

To that end, I am soliciting specific feedback by means of the
questionnaire below.  If you have perspectives and opinions you would
like to communicate to me on the subjects addressed below, please reply
to me privately and GPG-sign your message.  If you wish, you may also
GPG-encrypt the message to me.  I will not disregard replies that are
sent only to this list (or some other forum of which I'm aware), or
which are not GPG-signed, but I will give them less weight.  The Debian
Project Leader is elected by Debian Developers, and must serve and
represent Debian Developers.  The opinions of people outside the
Project -- who are not (or not yet) Debian Developers must necessarily
weigh less.  If you want to fill out and send me this questionnaire and
you are not a Debian Developer, please explain your affiliation with the
Debian Project.  For instance, the opinions of New Maintainer applicants
who have not yet become developers are important.

Note that following each question there is an area for you to add
comments on it.  I encourage you to use this area, since the questions
are mainly intended to inspire thought and feedback, rather than compel
you to squeeze your opinions into a ready-made cookie-cutter shape.

Thanks for your attention.

---CUT HERE-----------------------------------------------------

1.  Rank the following possible functions of Debian Project Leader in
    order from most important to least important by placing a digit
    between the brackets to the left of the item.  Use "1" as the most
    important item(s), with larger integers reflecting less important
    items.  You can give two items the same number to reflect a tie.
    Leave blank items you consider unimportant or not appropriate for
    the role of DPL.

    [   ] attending trade shows and conferences
    [   ] resolving disputes internal to the Project
    [   ] representing Debian to trade associations, businesses and NGOs
          (non-governmental organizations)
    [   ] drafting and implementing internal procedures for the Project
          that aren't already well-defined
    [   ] appointing delegates per the Constitution
    [   ] fixing bugs in packages that no one else will fix
    [   ] cash fundraising
    [   ] acquiring donations of bandwidth, equipment, and hosting
    [   ] mentoring other developers

    Comments:

2.  Rank the following past and present DPLs in order of greatest
    effectiveness to least effectiveness (use "1" for the most effective
    leader(s)).  You need not have been a Debian Developer during the
    term a Leader to express an opinion here (though knowing who they
    are and what they did as DPL definitely helps).  You can give two
    people the same number to reflect a tie.  Leave blank people about
    whom you feel you cannot form an opinion.

    [   ] Bdale Garbee
    [   ] Ben Collins
    [   ] Bruce Perens
    [   ] Ian Jackson
    [   ] Ian Murdock
    [   ] Wichert Akkerman

    Comments (why did you rank these people as you did?):

3.  True or false: the New Maintainer system is still broken.

    Comments:

4.  True or false: we should place more emphasis on architectures that
    have a lot of users.

    Comments:

5.  True or false: release management in this Project is a big problem.

    Comments:

6.  True or false: there are too many inactive developers.

    Comments:

7.  True, false, or not applicable: the Debian Project Leader should see
    to it that inactive developers are placed on notice that they will
    be dropped from the Project, and then if they do not become active,
    "expire" them from our ranks.

    Comments:

8.  True or false: the concept of "one maintainer per package" is
    outmoded, and packages should be maintained as more of a group or
    communal process.

    Comments:

9.  True or false: the Debian Policy Manual and Bug Tracking System
    should be used together as a "stick" with which to compel
    uncooperative maintainers to change the way they maintain their
    packages.

    Comments:

10. True or false: the Debian Project is biased against people who do
    not speak English fluently.

    Comments:

11. True, false, or not applicable: there is not a lot that we can do
    about the Debian Project being biased against people who do not
    speak English fluently.

    Comments:

12. Should the DPL attempt to build consensus among a small group of
    experts or among the whole project before taking a major action, or
    should he go it alone?  Mark one.

    [   ] build consensus among a small group
    [   ] build consensus among the whole Project
    [   ] take unilateral action

13. Rank the following possible traits of Debian Project Leader as
    assets (with an "A") or liabilities (with an "L") between the
    brackets to the left of the item.  Leave blank items you consider as
    having no bearing on the role of DPL.

    [   ] a high level of visibility as a "regular developer" on
          internal Project mailing lists
    [   ] a high level of visibility as Project leader on internal
          Project mailing lists
    [   ] a high level of visibility in Debian-related IRC channels
    [   ] a preference for reading prepared statements over extemporaneous
          presentations at public gatherings
    [   ] a preference for brokering agreement behind the scenes between
          conflicting parties
    [   ] a preference for brokering agreement in public between
          conflicting parties
    [   ] long, flowing hair
    [   ] a beard
    [   ] a sense of humor

    (Those without the last item need not mark the last three.)

    Comments:

14. True or false: the Debian Project Leader should attend as many trade
    shows and conferences as possible for him or her.

    Comments:

15. True, false, or not applicable: Debian Project funds should be
    spent on getting the Debian Project Leader to as many trade shows
    and conferences as possible when corporate sponsorship is
    unavailable.

    Comments:

16. True or false: the Technical Committee is operating as intended
    under the Constitution.

    Comments:

17. True or false: a simple majority of voting Debian Developers should
    be sufficient to modify the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

    Comments:

18. True or false: a simple majority of voting Debian Developers should
    be sufficient to modify the Debian Social Contract.

    Comments:

19. Should decisions about DFSG-compliance be made on the debian-legal
    list, or should we have a more formalized body for making such
    decisions?

    Comments:

20. True or false: under the current Constitution as written, a simple
    majority of voting Debian Developers is sufficient to modify the
    Debian Social Contract and Free Software Guidelines.

    Comments:

21. Mark the statements below that accurately (if not precisely) reflect
    your opinions with an "X" between the brackets.  Note that these
    statements are wide-ranging in nature.  If you have insufficient
    context upon which to ground an affirmative answer, leave it blank.
    Where I consider it important to determine what the respondents to
    this questionnaire *don't* believe or agree with, I have supplied a
    contrapositive statement.  Feel free to elaborate on your answers in
    the comments section.

    [   ] The DPL should not waste his time on arguments about the
          Constitution, Social Contract, or DFSG.
    [   ] The DPL is always perceived as the DPL, even when he or she is
          not sending mails from "leader@debian.org" or providing
          evidence of his or her leader status elsewhere in mail
          messages he or she sends.
    [   ] The person elected to the office of DPL has a special
          responsibility to keep his or her mouth shut on potentially
          inflammatory issues, except when acting explicitly as DPL.
    [   ] The Debian Project will only get as good a DPL as it deserves.
    [   ] Everything in Debian main should be treated as software under
          the DFSG, even if it isn't software by some definitions.
    [   ] We let too much stuff that violates the spirit of the DFSG
          into main.
    [   ] The debian-legal list is infested with a bunch of nitpicky
          nitwits who give the Project a bad name and keep Debian from
          being as good as it could be by rejecting software from main
          for no good reason.
    [   ] A good Debian Developer doesn't necessarily make for a good
          Project Leader.
    [   ] Debian should toss the DFSG and adopt the Open Source
          Definition (OSD) instead.
    [   ] Debian should delegate license interpretation to the Open
          Source Initiative (OSI) [maintainers of the OSD].
    [   ] Debian should stop distributing the non-free section.
    [   ] Debian should keep the non-free section even if it dwindles to
          the point where there is nothing interesting in it, in the
          event that important new non-free software appears that our
          users might want.
    [   ] Our twin priorities of "our users" and "Free Software" are
          sometimes in conflict with each other.
    [   ] The primary purpose of the Debian Project should be to supply
          a high-quality operating system to as many people as possible.
    [   ] The primary purpose of the Debian Project should be to supply
          a high-quality, Free operating system to whoever is interested
          in it.
    [   ] The Debian Project is an insufficiently welcoming environment
          to female geeks and computer professionals.
    [   ] The DPL should step in to mediate disagreements between Debian
          Developers and upstream developers, as recently happened with
          MPlayer.
    [   ] The Debian Project should work with SPI or some other
          organization to try and see that its needs and goals are
          respected, or at least not meddled with, by governments.
    [   ] Debian Developers are substantially better at critical
          thinking and logical reasoning than the general populace.
    [   ] The migration of murphy from qmail to postfix was a good
          thing.
    [   ] The migration of murphy from qmail to postfix was important.
    [   ] Being elected Debian Project Leader is primarily a reward for
          good work.
    [   ] The Debian Machine Usage Policy (DMUP) needs to be revised.
    [   ] Revising the DMUP is important.
    [   ] Voters in the Debian Project have a responsibility to make
          themselves well-informed about the issues before casting a
          ballot.
    [   ] There should be no one in the Project with
          extra-constitutional power; that is, Debian keyring
          maintenance, archive administration, system administration,
          and so forth should all be formally delegated positions by the
          DPL.
    [   ] Making the Debian keyring maintainer, archive administrators,
          and system administrators DPL delegates has creates a
          potentially dangerous situation for which there is no analogue
          under the current situation.
    [   ] The DPL has more important things to worry about than who's
          delegated to do what.
    [   ] People who capitalize the phrase "Free Software" are annoying.
    [   ] The Free Software Foundation is run by a bunch of crazy hippie
          communists, and Debian is being taken over by more of the same.
    [   ] The Open Source Initiative is run by a bunch of Christian
          fundamentalist right-wing gun nuts, and Debian is being taken
          over by more of the same.
    [   ] I deeply resent whimsy intruding into this questionnaire.
    [   ] A person who lost the DPL election twice shouldn't think about
          running again.
    [   ] No one who lost the DPL election was ever subsequently elected
          DPL.
    [   ] No one who lost the DPL election twice was ever subsequently
          elected DPL.
    [   ] Bdale Garbee is unbeatable.
    [   ] Bdale Garbee has disappointed me.
    [   ] We should elect a DPL based on his or her platform and
          contributions to the project, not based on personality issues.
    [   ] A DPL candidate shouldn't make promises in his or her
          platform.
    [   ] We should elect a DPL who reflects who we want to be, even if
          they don't reflect who we are.
    [   ] DPL elections are essentially popularity contests.
    [   ] There is nothing we can do about the above statement; it's the
          nature of the beast.
    [   ] Circulating this questionnaire proves that you're unfit to be
          Project Leader.
    [   ] Circulating this questionnaire demonstrates leadership.
    [   ] Circulating this questionnaire is a cynical attempt to
          manipulate the electorate.
    [   ] Debian Developers should publicly and prominently campaign for
          the person they'd prefer to see as Project Leader.
    [   ] Debian Developers should keep their DPL preferences to
          themselves.
    [   ] DPL campaigns have increasingly come to adopt traits of
          conventional politics.
    [   ] I find previous statement true and not a cause for concern.
    [   ] The DPL can barely wipe his nose without consensus.  (The DPL
          is essentially a figurehead without much real power.)
    [   ] Debian's effort at a constitutional system of governance
          has been a failure.
    [   ] The Debian Constitution and the apparatuses instituted by it
          are basically instruments of last resort, called into play
          when our traditional methods of operation fail.
    [   ] We'd be better off with a few hundred fewer Developers.
    [   ] We'd be better off with more Developers.
    [   ] Debian distributes too many packages; we should narrow our
          focus.
    [   ] Branden Robinson is a non-free flame burning bigot.
    [   ] Branden Robinson is prejudiced against the French.
    [   ] Branden Robinson is prejudiced against the American
          government.
    [   ] Branden Robinson doesn't know when not to make jokes.
    [   ] Branden Robinson has a lousy sense of humor.
    [   ] Branden Robinson's sense of humor is not important, no matter
          how good or bad it is.
    [   ] Branden Robinson has gotten better at not flaming people over
          the years.
    [   ] I haven't really paid attention to whether or not Branden
          Robinson has gotten better at not flaming people over the
          years, but it doesn't really matter because I'm not going to
          vote for him anyway, even though I'll claim that I won't vote
          for him because he flames people.
    [   ] Branden Robinson wrote a questionnaire that was way the hell
          too long.
    [   ] The number of occurrences of the string "Branden Robinson" in
          this questionnaire proves that he's an egomaniac.
    [   ] An egomaniac can make a good DPL.
    [   ] We already *have* an egomaniac for a DPL.

    Comments:

---CUT HERE-----------------------------------------------------

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |     It just seems to me that you are
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     willfully entering an arse-kicking
branden@debian.org                 |     contest with a monstrous entity
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     that has sixteen legs and no arse.

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