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Re: Question for all candidates: Release process

On Sun, Mar 14, 2010 at 02:44:15PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> This is for all candidates.
> 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 believe social issues are the main problems Debian is still facing at
this time, not just in the release process.

> Do you have any ideas how, as DPL, you would (or even could) address this?
> I'm personally the most concerned with the social issues.

The social issues in our community are self-enforcing. That is, if it is
accepted that people are rude, then there is nothing you can really do
about repetitive rudeness towards your person, beyond resigning.
However, if we, as a project, decide that no, rudeness and ad-hominem
attacks are not acceptable, then such things will not go unnoticed.

As a DPL, I will promote, in whatever way I can, to publicly (but
politely) disapprove of what should be unacceptable behaviour; but also
to allow people to make mistakes.

> 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.

Indeed. I use a different wording, but basically outline the same thing
in my platform, and I believe it is the single most important problem
Debian is facing currently. Finding volunteers is hard; keeping them is
even harder. If we do not have a welcoming community, then we drive
people away, and we should not do that.

The biometric identification system at the gates of the CIA headquarters
works because there's a guard with a large gun making sure no one is
trying to fool the system.

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