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

Kumar Appaiah <a.kumar@alumni.iitm.ac.in> writes:
> On Thu, Apr 01, 2010 at 02:57:59AM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:

>> 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.

> Isn't this, by itself, a problem? Shouldn't it be very easy to find out
> what the discussions were, rather than have to ask those who discussed
> behind closed doors as to wha t the current situation is? I wish to draw
> your attention more towards this issue, rather than the particular case
> of python packaging.

Insofar as disagreements are technical, I think they need to become
public.  As with anything else about free software, more eyes are better;
plus, we have as a project goal to not hide our problems and to discuss
them in public.

Insofar as disagreements are personal, I think requiring that they always
be discussed in public has some implications that I'm not sure everyone
realizes.  By requiring that all personal disagreements be exercised in
public, we would effectively be selecting for project contributors who can
hold their own in vituperative public flamewars.  I'm not sure that's
actually a criteria that we should be selecting for.

Obvious, in many cases, the two get intermingled badly, and I think that's
probably the case here.  In that case, it's often useful to bring in a
third party to untangle the personal from the technical so that the
technical can be discussed in public and we can reach a technical
decision.  But I would be very leery of applying the same problem
resolution mechanism to all interpersonal problems that we want to apply
to all technical problems.  In general, and not here speaking about any
specific case, I think that approach would drive away a fair number of
people who would otherwise be valuable assets to the project.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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