Re: [all candidates] DPL salary
The ground shaking question to all candidates is then: what do you
of providing a DPL salary using Debian funds?
Here are some comments on a few of the aspects that worry me about this
idea. Some could be addressed by making other changes, but some seem
Pool of candidates
I fear that this could in fact shrink, not increase, the pool of good
candidates, by creating a new expectation that the DPL should work
full-time on Debian.
- As Russ already noted, there are few employers where it is easy to
take a year out. Even where employers permit it, there will often be an
associated step backwards in career progression. Look at the number of
laws written to attempt to protect women who take time out of a career
to have children, but the apparent careeer disadvantage that still comes
- Someone working freelance would be likely to lose most of their
- An academic would suffer afterwards if they didn't continue to keep
up with the latest research, and continue to help push forward
publications or other projects that are already in progress.
- With the current one-year term, some people might have to use up a
high proportion of the time to look for a job for afterwards.
The other organisations you mention as examples have more complex
governance than the current Debian constitution.
- What happens if the new DPL isn't seen to be doing a good job, or
goes MIA? Who assesses if the DPL is doing a good job?
- How much time is the payment intended to be in return for? Is the
DPL allowed to take other paid roles during the year? Does the answer
to this change depending on how large the payment is compared to the
DPL's usual outgoings? Does the DPL needs to fill in timesheets to show
that work is being done, even if the results are slow?
- If the DPL is full-time, it would make sense to schedule much more
travel. We would need constitutional changes first to avoid accusations
of impropriety surfacing sooner or later.
If cash is available, is this the best way to use it to benefit Debian?
- Could we get more benefit from spending it on sprints/DebConf travel
sponsorship/buying hardware? This isn't only a question of internal
justification, but of persuading our donors that we are using their
money well. Maybe if we increased fundraising by 10x first, this aspect
would be less of a concern.
- If we are paying roles, why choose the DPL role to pay first? Why
not e.g. a sysadmin, where availability for rapid response would be
useful, as well as more time for projects that aren't currently
interesting priorities for the individuals involved? Why not pay a
release manager? I don't see that Debian is being held back by a lack
of DPL time, but the release process does seem held back compared to if
the same people had more time for it. Why not pay for a professional
These questions would have to be resolved, creating different types of
unfairness/problems depending on the answers chosen.
- How will we set the level of payment? Will it depend on the country
of residence? Who will decide by how much it increases over time?
- Even within one country, different people can have very different
recurring costs depending on their other circumstances, such as family
life, number of dependents, previous salary level, whether they rent or
are a property owner, previous propensity to spend or save, etc.
- Will the amount include e.g. office costs and healthcare costs, or
will these be paid in addition? If uninsured healthcare costs arise
during the year, while a DPL has no other means of support, will we help
with those from Debian funds? What about healthcare/insurance costs for
- If the DPL doesn't have another job ready at the end of the term,
will we do anything to help them meet their costs?
- Will Debian pay for the lawyers and accountants involved in sorting
things out for each country, or will those costs come out of the
payment? What happens if the final answer from the lawyers after some
time is that it's not possible for a given country?
- If there is a single predetermined level of payment, as seems most
likely, this would presumably increase the number of young applicants
from poorer countries, and discourage people with senior positions in
richer countries from applying. That might not be a bad thing
necessarily, but it doesn't sound like it was what you intended?
Stefano asked later:
The broader question is than: what can we do to loose those blockers
profit more from the abilities that we do have in our community?
It makes more sense to me to try to reduce the time required for the
leadership role(s), whether by delegation, by having the DPL just do
less and the rest of the project adjust, or by constitutional changes
such as moving to a board of equals.