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Re: Questions for all candidates: plurality of mandates

On Fri, Mar 10, 2006 at 08:35:30PM +1100, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 08, 2006 at 11:45:44AM +0100, Mohammed Adn?ne Trojette wrote:
> > I read in Anthony's mail[0]:
> > "ftpmaster work requires a different set of skills to release management
> > though, and frankly Joey's already got enough stuff to do, without
> > worrying about the nuts and bolts of the dak implementation."
> And another question on the same topic; is the above quote not one of
> the most condescending seen on a debian project list in quite some time?

I'm not sure what you find condescending about it. The only thing I can
guess at is that you figure that I don't think Joey's capable of obtaining
those skills; if so, that's completely wrong, and I'm absolutely sorry
if I gave that impression -- the ftpmaster stuff isn't that hard to
learn, and I'm pretty sure Joey's completely capable of doing pretty
much anything in Debian, even if it were. The only point I was making
was that that does take time, both initially and ongoing; and that that
would be (IMO) time *much* better spent elsewhere.

Joey's said the same thing himself repeatedly, including in his followup
to the above quote:

> I fact I even once wrote that I don't want to become an ftpmaster
> as well. [...]

> It's true that I already work a lot for Debian, often it consumes most
> of my day.  That's why I don't want to take over another duty. [...]

  -- http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2006/03/msg00161.html

More generally, Joey's a member of DSA and as such has root on
security-master.d.o; if he really wanted to he could maintain the dak
install there (or an entirely different system) himself for security
updates. The reason he hasn't already done that is precisely the above --
keeping that stuff in order, and supporting new things like secure-apt,
and finding and fixing bugs in it is a distraction from the stuff he's
there to do.

And obviously there are problems with the code that need fixing -- it's
not perfect, and even if it were we'd keep thinking up things it could
do better anyway. For example, at the moment Moritz and I are trying to
track down a bug where the s.d.o Release file fails to generate properly,
and where the update being processed fails to get copied from s.d.o
into ftp-master/proposed-updates.

And it has been fairly frustrating trying to do that for Joey, since when
things don't get fixed perfectly the first time, they get treated as a
major catastrophe; and that's why things don't go smoothly all the time,
such as now. But even in spite of that, we do still manage to fix things
[0], and IMO at least, this remains by orders of magnitude the most
sensible way of handling the security archive -- having the archive
software maintained by the regular archive administrators, having the
buildds maintained by the regular buildd administrators, and having the
security team focus on security issues.

It hasn't always been this way -- the last time the security team took
care of all that stuff themselves was prior to woody's release in 2002
(which included the addition of ia64, hppa, mips, mipsel and s390). And
as much as Joey does complain when it breaks [1], going to anything else
would still be a major step backwards [2].

Likewise, the release team, whether for point or major updates, just
don't particularly need ftpmaster permissions -- I didn't have them when
doing the last potato test cycles or its release, or the initial couple
of woody point releases; and the current etch release team also operate
completely effectively without them.

And fwiw, I do try to apply pretty much the same philosophy to myself:
I don't do much NEW or removal processing as part of ftpmaster, because
I've got enough to do looking after britney, or worrying about larger
scale things like the mirror split; I don't look at owner@ mails or spam
reports or the mailing list stuff for bugs.debian.org, because I've got
enough to do looking at other parts of the BTS. If I'm relying on some
other part of those working better, I look into it if I've got time, and
try to find a fix that whoever usually works on it approves of, or work
around it or accept that it's going to continue being a problem if not.

So, again, I'm sorry if it came across in any way condescending --
I mean, heck Joey was the guy who called me when I was in n-m -- as I
hope's clear from the above, it really wasn't remotely intended to be.


[0] Such as some of the problems described in 

[1] "Err... you know that this was caused by disfunctional infrastructure
     not maintained by the security team, right?"
        -- http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2006/03/msg00264.html

[2] "The security team is very thankful for the buildd network as it
     simplifies the roll-out of security updates a lot.  We couldn't
     support our distributions without this buildd network.  It is an
     essential projects asset and an essential resource of the security
        -- http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2005/03/msg01830.html

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