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Re: Question for all candidates: Release process

On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 08:09:19AM +0100, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> On 14/03/10 at 14:44 -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.
> > 
> > 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.  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.
> > 
> > Do you have any thoughts about how to resolve release issues with less
> > hurt and negative impact to the project all around?
> Three more release-related questions.
> During the last debconf, the freeze of squeeze was first announced to
> take place in December, then this decision was cancelled, and now we are
> in March.
> - How do you analyze what happened during last summer? What went wrong?

From my perspective, it looks like some people jumped the gun a little,
though with the best of intentions.

> - What is your opinion on the motivations for the proposal to freeze in
>   December? Specifically, in the future, should we try to coordinate our
>   release process with Ubuntu's?

I don't think it hurts anyone for Debian to cooperate with another
project, be that project Ubuntu, the FSF, or something else.

If the cooperation with Ubuntu worked well for this release (I am not
very up-to-date on the details here), then I see no reason why we should
not do so.

> - So, we are now in March. What is your opinion with the release process
>   so far? When do you see the release happening?

In my opinion, the best release we ever had (that I was a part of, at
least) was the Etch release process; shortly after Sarge had been
released, the release managers had started to regularly update the
project as a whole on where we were in the process, and I believe that
worked very very well. During the whole of the Etch release process,
there was never really a point in time where I felt I didn't know how
far away the release still was.

It feels to me as though the frequency and/or quality of updates has
reduced somewhat since the Etch release, though I'll readily admit that
that is just a gut feeling. At any rate, I do not feel I am as
up-to-date as I was during the Etch release process on when the release
is going to happen. I don't think it's going to take more than, say,
half a year, though.

> (I'm fully aware that the DPL is not in a position to take many actions
> regarding the release. However, similar questions are likely to be asked
> during post-election interviews, so we would better know how you will
> answer ;)

Hope that answers 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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