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Re: What will improve Debian most?

On Tue, 24 Mar 2009, Anthony Towns wrote:
>     Over the next twelve months, what single development/activity/project
>     is going to improve Debian's value the most? By how much? How will
>     you be involved?

Having such a discussion is really interesting, I would not limit it
to -vote and DPL candidates. We should re-raise the topic on -devel and
let all contributors share their big plans for the next year. Going
further we could even have an IdeaTorrent setup (à la
brainstorm.ubuntu.com) where we could all register our
projects/ideas/plans for Debian and have other Debian contributors rate
the ideas. (We could also have a variant open to all users)


My plans/ideas are the following:

 - Global switch to new source format 3.0 (quilt) + drive DEP3 to
   standardize the meta-information on debian/patches/*

   - Goal: uniformize most packages around a single patch management
     system. This makes it easier to occasional contributors, they
     can help by learning a single patch management system.
   - Goal: better collaboration with upstream and other distributions
     because all Debian-specific changes are in separate patches that
     will be documented in a standard format (lintian warning will require
     that). Get rid of undocumented Debian-specific change in .diff.gz.

 - dpkg-vendor tool that can be used in source packages

   - Goal: facilitate cooperation with derivatives by having a common
     source package for multiple distributions

 - Offer some official interface in dpkg-dev to drive a package build
   within a VCS (source package created from the VCS directly too).

   - Goal: making it easier for occasional contributors so that they don't
     have to learn another *-buildpackage tool each time that they hack on
     another package.

 - Create a debian-love desktop application that would handhold users into
   becoming new contributors. The user would select "contributions
   scenarios" that are of interest for him and when he has some time to
   spend on Debian, he would run one of the scenarios suggested by
   the application ("translate .po file for package X", "try to reproduce
   bug X", "suggest debtags for package X", "add screenshot for
   application X") with the help of some wizard-like interface.
   It would make use of all the information available locally and on the
   net. You can combine the information that application X is used
   regularly and the fact that the bug #123 reported against this
   application (same version as the user!) is tagged unreproducible to ask
   the user to help reproduce the problem. Possibilities are very broad…

   - Goal: recruit more contributors, spread knowledge about our processes
     in a entertaining way, make bug management more effective (tagging
     bugs unreproducible would drive the attention of more users to
     increase the chance that someone can reproduce it), etc.

 - Drive DEP2 to define a system that allows us to monitor more
   effectively and precisely the maintenance status of all packages.

   - Goal: ensure we always have up-to-date information on maintenance
     status of packages so that new contributors can be redirected where
     their help will be welcome, useful and not ignored.

Not sure all of this fit in a single year… I would not mind if someone
else would be interested to create the debian-love application. :)
Raphaël Hertzog

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