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Re: Bits from the DPL: DSA and buildds and DAM, oh my!

On Tue, 13 Mar 2007, Andreas Tille wrote:
> On Tue, 13 Mar 2007, Frans Pop wrote:
> >[quoting http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2007/03/msg00062.html ]
> >...
> >
> >IMO setting up an RT system will not fundamentally solve any of this, but
> >will at most make it more manageable. The only way to solve this is by
> >having new blood in the teams, people who will take on the most boring
> >and routine tasks with enthusiasm because it is new and who bring fresh
> >ideas and the energy to implement them to the teams.
> Amen.
> I seldomly read such precise and explicite words that describe the
> main problem in Debian.  Each paragraph was well written and I just
> cuttet the quote short.
> If there would be a DPL candidate that would explicitely express
> the intend to make it his main task to change this situation I would
> rank him top most and everybody who ignores this problem will be
> ranked below "None of above".

I agree with what Frans said and fixing this problem is certainly an
high-priority goal for me (as well as other candidates who are in the

I can even give a simple (recent) example. Last week Roland Mas and John
Goerzen have configured an hg.debian.org service on Alioth. The only
missing bit was the DNS name. Roland sent a request to
debian-admin@lists.debian.org with a line ready to be cut&pasted in the
bind configuration file. This is a no-brainer, a 3 minutes task
for any admin.

Then you start waiting and you have no answer. Then you decide to ping
someone on IRC. I tried Joey first because he used to handle many small
requests like those. Here you discover that he doesn't read debian-admin
anymore and that you have to bounce him the message privately. We did
that. 2 days later, still nothing. Then you decide to try another route. I
ask neuro and fil on a DSA channel. No answer. Then one day later, I
decide to /msg elmo (who is currently not in the DSA channel). It's
sunday, no answer but I expected that as we was idle for quite a long
time.  Then on monday I re-ping elmo and he responds and he does the
change within minutes.

For a 3 minute work, I probably lost 30 minutes trying to ping people by
various means. If they use the request-tracker seriously, it can certainly
be a big help for that kind of small request. But then, it's not difficult
to review a mbox and see if all the request have been answered. That's why
I believe there's still a motivation/manpower problem.

I could give a similar example with the addition of "zack" to the "qa"
group. It has taken several months simply because mails are not answered
and we had to prod them several times.

Others have had similar experience with buildd admins and/or ftpmasters.
Even ftpmaster assistants have problems getting the attention of real
ftpmasters when they prepare patches.

So, believe me, yes I intend to work with those teams to fix those
problems. But I don't expect to appoint people directly, I'll rather
make sure that the teams formulate their goals and then ask people to help
them reach those goals, and then ask the teams to integrate the people who
helped them reach their goals.

Then again, this strategy is mine and will be discussed by the board so
that people with other experiences have the opportunity to correct the
direction before we try something.

Raphaël Hertzog

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