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Re: Question for all candidates: Care of Core infrastructure

On Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 10:56:58PM -0600, Gunnar Wolf wrote:
> Wouter Verhelst dijo [Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 01:45:33AM +0100]:
> > The numbers are easy. The amount of Debian Developers has been
> > approximately steady at about 1000 for the past ten years. Over that
> > same time, the amount of packages in our distribution has been steadily
> > increasing. By definition, that means the ratio of Debian Developers per
> > package has been doing down, and thus also that the core infrastructure
> > has less contributors. Having more packages does not necessarily mean
> > that only fringe packages are added; useful new software is written all
> > the time, and the fact that useful new software is written does not make
> > useful old software disappear.
> > 
> > I believe the problem is not that less people are interested in Debian's
> > core infrastructure; the problem is that less people are interested in
> > *Debian*. We need to work on that. As we say in Dutch, "stilstaan is
> > achteruitgaan" -- "standing still is the same as going backwards" -- and
> > the number of DDs has not been going up for quite a while now.
> Umm, yes, but during the seven years I have been part of this project,
> we shifted from a collections of mostly solo-maintained to a good
> number of team-maintained packages. And we have opened the DM scheme
> (imperfect but still much better than not having it IMO), which brings
> in important numbers of new contributors.


But there's still a difference between a Debian Developer and a DM.
Nobody can do a sponsored upload, except a DD. Nobody can do an NMU,
except a DD. Nobody can maintain a buildd host, except a DD.

This implies that there are some fairly important jobs that can only be
done by DDs. And since reaching Debian Developer status is usually a
sign of gaining a certain level of experience with Debian and Free
Software in general, this means that most of the core contributors to
Debian are those same DDs.

So while I agree that the situation isn't as dramatic as a simple look
at the number of DDs would seem to suggest, I think it could easily
become that if we don't act.


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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