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Re: Question to all candidates: DPL's role in important package maintenance

Hi Kumar,

On Sat, Mar 27, 2010 at 06:27:00PM -0500, Kumar Appaiah wrote:
> Dear Candidates,
> First of all, I wish you all the very best for the elections!
> At the outset, this question is not meant to be inflammatory or to
> express ire at a particular individual or set of individuals involved;
> I have great respect for the contributions of all involved in the
> community.
> One of the questions which I've not yet seen exactly in the
> discussions is on the transparency in the maintenance of non-core but
> "important" packages, such as python, wherein the maintenance of the
> package and policy (till a short while ago) has been, poor at best,
> and we've had near zero communication from the maintainer(s) for over
> a year. This has led some parts of the "community" (Debian Python, in
> this case) to knock the doors of the tech-ctte[1] (recommended
> reading, unless you have done so already).

I don't wish to comment on the specific case of python packaging.
There's been lots of things going on there, and though some of it was in
public, the thread you point to clearly states that some things were not
discussed in public, but were instead only done through private mail
between some of the people involved. As such, it's impossible for me to
build a clear picture on what has been going on, which would be a
prerequisite for commenting on this.

> My question to you is, do you envision a role for the DPL in fixing
> such inadequate maintenance of important packages, or are you of the
> opinion that is it up to the affected Debian "community" to stop
> whining and step up with some action themselves?

In the general case, I believe that when there are issues with important
packages involving technical and social difficulties that apparently
cannot be solved easily by the people involved, it is indeed the DPL's
duty to step in and discuss the problems at hand in as open a manner as
possible with all people involved, and to try to come to a solution.

This may not be easy, and a solution that makes all people involved
happy may be impossible. Such is life. But if such an option exists, we
should seek it.

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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