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Re: Questions for the candidates

mbanck@gmx.net (Michael Banck) writes:

>  - Debian did have stronger ties to the FSF in the past. Maybe it is
>    time to think about our relationsship with the FSF and try to
>    cooperate/communicate more with the FSF in places where it might be
>    appropriate, like licensing issues, documentation, contact to the
>    GNU-tools developer etc. (of course, this could only work on a peer
>    to peer basis, and would not neccessarily include RMS)

I'm not sure I agree with your opening assertion.  While the growth in Debian
means that the actual GNU software content in Debian is a smaller portion of
our total than it once was, we still prefer GNU implementations of various 
utilities, etc.  I believe most Debian maintainers of GNU packages have cordial
and productive working relationships with their FSF counterparts... I know I 
do.  And there are ongoing discussions between Debian/SPI, FSF, OSI, and 
others about various intellectual property issues including licensing, 
software patents, etc.

As an external relationship for Debian, interaction with the FSF is certainly
at least partly within the scope of the DPL.

>  - The Linux Standard Base is an important effort for the future of
>    Linux IMHO. I consider it important that we are as compliant as
>    possible, without giving up our identity. This would probably mean
>    coordination between developers and also includes the question
>    whether we should include updates for better LSB-compliance into
>    stable point releases alongside security updates (if there are any,
>    and they are acceptable)

Debian demonstrated compliance with the LSB shortly after the release of 
woody, but Debian has not "certified" any release with the LSB.  As DPL, I
instigated Debian/SPI joining the FSG as a member organization, and Debian 
developers continue to work on many FSG activities including the LSB.

Recent discussion has focused on trying to fold the small set of changes
required for woody LSB compliance into our next stable point release.  I don't
know yet whether that will happen or not.  I certainly hope/expect that sarge 
as released will be compliant with the LSB version in effect at that time.

>  - Inclusion of NetBSD (or any other BSD) and the Hurd need cooperation
>    between the respective developers, the archive maintainers and the
>    dpkg authers, as far as I can tell. Especially for the Hurd, my
>    feeling is that its developers have become quite embittered during
>    the last years because of lack of support by the rest of Debian. Some
>    talking and motivation behind the scenes might have a positive
>    effect, in my humble opinion.

Interestingly enough, I spent about an hour yesterday talking with Jeff Bailey
and Anthony Towns about how the Debian Hurd community can move forward again,
not long before I saw this message from you.  ;-)

While I had followed some of the discussions on our lists, I didn't realize
the Hurd community had become as frustrated as you and Jeff imply.  Since I
have worked on 5 of the ports of Debian Linux at various times, I both
empathised with some of the frustrations and had suggestions for what might
be needed to get things back on track... as did Anthony.  I think Jeff went 
away with some good ideas, and I hope he will inject those into the larger 
Debian Hurd community soon.

>  - There are quite a few developers who are either MIA or left the
>    project for various reasons in the past. In some cases the situation
>    might have changed in the meantime and it might be worth trying to
>    reinvite them into the project, but I wouldn't know which delegate
>    would be responsible for something like this.

The DAM has ultimate responsibility for managing the set of active Debian
accounts.  I believe James hopes to address inactive maintainers after he 
catches up on the NM backlog.  

>  - I've read the -private archives of '96 and early '97 lately and I had
>    the impression that there was a lot more discussion (and flow) about
>    formal stuff in Debian back then than now. Maybe it is time to
>    rethink about the constitution and see if some modifications would
>    better match the project in its current state?

That was an interesting time in the history of the project, when our growth
demanded that we evolve from our early near-complete lack of formalism.  Thus
it isn't surprising that things like the development of the Social Contract
and associated DFSG, and the later drafting of our Constitution were hot 
topics for the project at that time.

I don't see anything in our current Constitution that is impeding our work.

I routinely am drawn into conversation about where Debian is going next, and
the three key areas I articulated in my platform this year are all things I
see as crucial to our continuing evolution and success.  


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