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Re: Questions to the candidates

On Wed, Mar 08, 2006 at 08:16:34AM +0100, Martin Schulze wrote:
>I'd like to ask some questions to the prospecitve project leaders:
>1. Which are Debians top five strengths in your opinion?

  People - we have lots of developers, all doing their bit

  Freedom - we are focussed on Free Software

  Stability - we make a good, solid OS that people can depend on

  Technical excellence - we are recognised throughout the community
  for getting things right, because we care

  Community - we have a large and supportive set of users who
  appreciate our work and help us to continue it

>2. Where do you identify Debians top five problems?

  Scalability - most of our processes cope with the large number of
  developers, packages etc. but as we keep on growing ever larger we
  keep stretching them

  Introversion - sometimes we get too engrossed in our own work and
  don't consider the bigger picture

  Development speed - we have a severe problem with actually
  co-ordinating all our efforts at one point to make a release happen.

  Lack of openness - too often many of our developers don't know what
  the rest of us are doing.

  Social interactions - we have a very large group of people, all with
  strong opinions; we need to work harder at working _together_.

>3. Do you plan to do anything to change the public recognition that
>   Debian suffers from severe release problems and that its stable
>   distribution is generally outdated?  If so, what?

Much of this is not down to the DPL, but the DPL can help with some of
it. In some cases this is by directly helping with the work needed,
but in more cases by publicising the good work that does happen (both
inside and outside the project) and encouraging more people to help.

We need to get the next few releases achieved in shorter but
believable timeframes. Much of that work falls to the release team and
the installer team. The rest of the DDs need to be encouraged to work
more with those teams to make their jobs possible. Again, this is
both direct (test, fix bugs) and indirect - try to ensure that our
packages are fit for release well within the schedule.

>4. In light of the well organised presence of Skolelinux and the
>   professional presence of Ubuntu at several conferences and exhibitions
>   do you believe Debian is represented adequately?

In my experience, yes. Our developers and the wider community do a
good job of turning up to these events and spreading the word about
Debian. My own direct experience is from the yearly Linux Expo in
London, where we consistently year-on-year have one of the busiest and
most popular stands. We normally have a mix of people looking for more
information about Debian and technical help with Free Software in
general, and as far as I can see we're good at providing both.

>5. Do you see any services for our users or developers missing or
>   poorly maintained?  If so, which and what do you plan to do to
>   fix this?

I'm not directly aware of anything important missing at the moment. I
know that we struggled to get packages.d.o running again, but that is
now in hand. When we do have problems, more visibility on the causes
and solutions would be useful - that's where we have had problems in
the past.

I'll turn the question around - what do _you_ think we're missing or
not maintaining correctly? The services that I need are working OK,
but I'm only one person.

>6. What is your opinion about the current situation with the backports
>   and volatile archives?  Currently they don't run on projects assets.

Backports and volatile are both useful services, provided outside of
the official Debian archive by more dedicated volunteers. Bringing
some of that work under the umbrella of the project might be a good
move, but doing that will take some time and needs to be done

>7. What is your opinion about the current situation with the snapshot
>   archive?  Currently it doesn't run on projects assets.

That's something thst should definitely be fixed - it's a useful
resource for us and our users, and we should make sure that it's
stable and reliable.

Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                steve@einval.com
"We're the technical experts.  We were hired so that management could
 ignore our recommendations and tell us how to do our jobs."  -- Mike Andrews

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