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Re: [all candidates] DPL salary

Stefano Zacchiroli <zack@debian.org> writes:

> I totally agree with you and I'm worried about that. I've been lucky in
> having the flexibility needed to be DPL and I wish the same flexibility
> to the next DPL. But, in terms of Debian sustainability, I'm worried
> that we de facto rely on people having that kind of flexibility to be
> good DPLs. I believe we are losing, via preemptive self-selection, many
> good candidates (from IT or other fields) for precisely that reason.

> The ground shaking question to all candidates is then: what do you think
> of providing a DPL salary using Debian funds?  I know it is a touchy
> topic, and I propose it on purpose :-P

I know this question isn't particularly aimed at me, but I'll answer
anyway: I really don't think that would help most of the time.  For
example, if I were to consider running for DPL, the problem isn't as much
the income.  Rather, it's that I have a job I like, and I don't want to
leave it.  I have a hard time imagining circumstances under which I'd quit
my job to be DPL, and then be faced with having to find a new job after a
DPL term ended.

Some people may be able to take an unpaid leave of absence, in which case
being paid to be DPL might help, but now we're back to only talking about
people with unusually flexible work situations.

The major problem with volunteer roles that take more time than one can
reasonably do on the side of a full time job isn't so much the lack of
compensation as it is the lack of more hours in the day and the fact that
quitting one's job to concentrate on this sort of temporary work is rarely
a viable option for people who are holding full-time jobs.  Even if the
work is paid, it's not permanent; you give up massive amounts of stability
and job security, and while some people will be in a position to do that,
most won't.  If one is supporting a family, for instance, taking a job for
one year and then having no idea what one is going to do next is the sort
of arrangement normally only considered if one is already unemployed.

Another, unrelated problem is that fair wages vary *wildly* based on where
one is physically located.  It wouldn't surprise me if they varied by more
than a factor of 10.  That creates a really awkward situation when
determining what to pay a given DPL, or again limits the field of

For example, I live in the SF Bay Area.  Fair market compensation here for
the sort of senior IT person that we would elect DPL is *at least*
$100,000 US per year, and at $100,000, people would generally be taking a
substantial pay cut because they believed in the organization.
Competitive wages would be more like $150,000.  I suspect similar ranges
in Boston or New York.  But that would be most likely be far, far above
competitive pay rates in many other places.

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

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