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Re: Questions for all candidates

On Fri, Feb 21, 2003 at 12:48:11AM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> This is a simple questionnaire. You can answer like you want. Cross
> as many boxes as needed ... but try to keep the answers logical. Feel
> free to justify your choices.
> 1. master.debian.org is still running potato. What do you think about
>    that ?
>  [x] The debian admins should be blamed

It's their *responsibility*, but whether there's blame to be assessed
seems a hasty conclusion.

>  [x] They must have good reasons to not have upgraded

This is possible, though I'd like to hear them.  :)

>  [x] Nothing, i have to ask some explanations first

It seems a fair question.  We're going to be dropping support for potato
before too long, and there have been tons of bugfixes in basic tools
like Vim[1] since potato was released.

>  [x] What's the problem exactly ?

I wouldn't regard running potato on master as a likely embarrassment
until we actually tell the rest of the world we're not supporting it

> 2. If you're

As DPL, or as Joe Q. Developer?  I can't unquestioningly check any of

> regularly in contact with debian-admin or ftpmasters or
> some other important team, you will have faced rejection of ideas or
> requests, and if you criticize them because of that, you may get an
> answer like "bingo, I'll never do anything for you in the upcoming
> year". What do you think about such an answer ?
>  [ ] Heh ... looks like a power trip, but forgive them, they never do
>      what they say.

Such responses are seldom productive but sometimes understandable.  If
this sort of message is sent to leader@debian.org, though, there's a
problem.  Either the DPL has done something *really* stupid, or the team
member is being unreasonably belligerent, and that's likely a problem.

>  [ ] I need to bring new blood in some teams to prevent those power
>      trips.

Possibly.  Such intemperate responses are often uttered by people who
are overburdened and overworked.

>  [ ] They're right, you only deserve to be flamed ... you keep asking
>      stupid things.

We need to aspire to a certain level of professionalism in our internal
communications when we require things of each other -- however,
perfection is not a reasonable standard.  We need to be able to accept
the occasional frayed temper, and we must be able to forgive the
occasional harsh word.  It is better to let people vent verbally than
wall them into channeling their frustration into negative, destructive

>  [ ] Who did say that ? I'm going to punish him as soon as I'm elected.

Without even getting a handle on the context?  This sort of attitude
would only promote an arms race of intolerance between the DPL and the
delegates.  An escalation of existing hostility when one hasn't explored
alternatives first is pretty unwise, and indicative of poor

> 3. We'd better release :
>  [ ] twice a year
>  [ ] once a year
>  [ ] every two years
>  [ ] always, we just throw stable away and keep a slightly modified
>      testing as official stable

I don't have a strong personal opinion on this.  Sorry to be so
non-commital, but I live in Debian unstable and so the release schedule
doesn't impact me the way it does our users.  I think it would be
interesting to survey the developers and have some conversations with
the Release Manager before mandating any sort of time frame.

> 4. The DAM is :
>  [x] a critical part of our infrastructure
>  [ ] guilty of not rejecting people when they deserve to be

That's possible, but I'm not sure it should really be the DAMs job to
exercise a veto on an NM candidate that has otherwise passed the
process.  If we have people getting in who don't "deserve" to, then I
think the burden should lie on the NM team to revise their criteria and
processes, not expect the DAM to precognitively spot the troublemakers.

One of the reasons the DAM is there is to deactivate and delete
accounts, not just create them.

>  [ ] guilty of doing everything behind the back leaving everyone
>      in the ignorance

This is an overstatement, but it's also a common perception.  It seems
to me this could be addressed by working with the DAM(s) to establish
clear expectations about what their job is, how they do it, and how one
can tell if they're actually not doing it, as opposed to it just seeming
like they're not doing it.

>  [x] elmo, a cool guy when you know how to discuss with him

James and I have clashed in the past, but then again who *haven't* I
clashed with in the past?  :)  James has done, and continues to do, a
hell of a lot of good work for the Project.  I am confident there is way
the DPL can help him out and satisfy the reasonable expectations of
Developers and NM applicants, without him becoming a walking piņata.

> 5. The ftpmasters are :
>  [ ] a good team, other teams should take them as model

I think they're essentially a good team; not sure if they qualify for
"model" status.  (I'm not sure *any* existing team qualifies for "model"
status.  :)  A good DPL can help good teams become model teams.)

>  [ ] annoying guys who ask you to clarify a license even when it's
>      quite clear already

No.  If FTP admins says it's not clear, and debian-legal says it's not
clear, it's not clear.

>  [ ] busy guys who take too long to add a package in the archive

This sort of assertion should not be made without quantitative data to
back it up.

>  [ ] too powerful, refusing to add some packages when
>      the license was ok (example: apt-i18n a few months ago) is a
>      shame.

I can't really agree with this one either.  Even if one feels that
apt-i18n was a bad call, that doesn't mean the FTP admins shouldn't have
the corresponding power.  People are occasionally going to disagree on
specific decisions, just as they do with package maintainers.

Thanks for the questions!

[1] well, okay, basic for some people :)
[2] Hello, Mr. President.

G. Branden Robinson                |    Men use thought only to justify
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    their wrong doings, and speech only
branden@debian.org                 |    to conceal their thoughts.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Voltaire

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