Re: to DPL candidates: getting new people to Debian
On 10/03/13 at 22:32 -0600, Gunnar Wolf wrote:
> Timo Juhani Lindfors dijo [Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 05:34:58PM +0200]:
> > Hi,
> > I'd like to have each DPL candidate briefly discuss the challenges of
> > getting new people to Debian.
> Riding on Timo Juhani's question (and not yet having read the two
> answers that it has already): There was an interesting discussion
> (sadly, in a private forum I cannot quote here, but the fact of having
> had the discussion does not disclose private information, yada
> yada...) that had as one of its interesting points the current age
> distribution, based on the entered data in Debian's LDAP entries. It
> shows the project as a whole is aging, and not only in the sense that
> Moray describes in his platform, but in the sense that we developers
> are getting older — When I joined the project I remember being happy
> and proud to be slightly under the (perceived) average age (among
> DebConf attendees). Today, I am 36 years old, and my age is... I don't
> remember whether the mode or the average.
> At the same time, now that I have started teaching at a university, we
> have a once very active LUG (complete with a meeting laboratory and
> all!), and it has gone almost deserted. My friends at the Faculty told
> me we need a way to attract younger people into Free Software
> development - It's not as easy to do it as it was ~10 years ago.
> So, do you think this demographic shift towards older developers is
> harmful to the project, or that it is just a fact and we should not
> worry? How would you intend to attract more young, interested,
> talented people? What do you think we, DDs spread all over the world,
> mostly working on a professional setting (and not anymore mostly
> students enjoying heaps of free time) should do to bring in more,
> younger contributors?
First, I don't think that age matters that much. What's important is to
have an amount of manpower that suits our needs. It's true that younger
DDs are often able to spend more time on Debian. But on the other hand,
you could say that older DDs are often more experienced DDs.
Regarding attractivity, there are two things:
- attracting people to free software
- attracting people to Debian
You write about attracting people to free software. I'm not sure that we
have a problem here. The number of free software users increases. Free
Software in general probably has the same problem as Debian, that is,
not being good at saying "we need help!" or "you can help!".
So we need to get more free software users to use Debian, more Debian
users to contribute, more contributors to become regular contributors,
etc. But I think I addressed that in my answer to Timo in