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Re: Question for all candidates: Release process

On Sun, Mar 14, 2010 at 6:44 PM, Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> wrote:

> Releasing is regularly the hardest thing that Debian does, not just
> technically but also socially.  Apart from the standard issues of setting
> deadlines, RC bug counts being high, and similar difficult technical
> issues, the process seems to eat volunteers.  There's usually always at
> least some frustration, anger, and upsetness, and there seems to usually
> be at least one resignation over the course of a release, often in a way
> that hurts other activities in Debian for a time.

I think that most of the frustration comes from the fact that the
release team is lacking manpower.  The job of the release team is very
stressful and very rarely do the RM and RA feel that their work is

> Do you have any ideas how, as DPL, you would (or even could) address this?

I've been thinking about this, due to the recent events, and I'm not
sure I have a solution.  As I've already commented, I'd like to set up
some projects that encourage more external (and internal as well)
contributors both to report and fix more bugs.  However, there's much
more to the release work than fixing RC bugs: managing transitions is
a LOT of work, that requires extra knowledge, and only DDs can do it.

We know from past experiences that throwing money at the problem would
only bring more trouble, so that's out of the picture.

So, the only way I see to help is documenting the work needed and
asking for help.  Maybe if more DDs knew the work needed to get their
own packages into testing, they would be able to help there, and
reduce the pressure on the Release Team.

> I'm personally the most concerned with the social issues.  A delayed
> release can be frustrating but doesn't have that much negative impact, but
> volunteers with enough knowledge of Debian to be able to serve as release
> managers or helpers are rare.  And usually the arguments not only hurt
> their contributions to Debian but usually hurt the contributions to Debian
> of the people on the other side of the argument as well, who are often
> also valuable and difficult-to-replace volunteers.

I agree with all of this, and I'm very much concerned about this
myself.  However, I don't see an easy way to fix this.  My ideas are
on how to make it easier to help out, but people won't necessary want
to help, and I can't think of a way to magically make people want to


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