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Re: [all candidates] DPL salary

Stefano asked:
The ground shaking question to all candidates is then: what do you think
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 more fundamental.

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 from it.

- Someone working freelance would be likely to lose most of their clients.

- 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 fundraiser?


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 dependents?

- 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 and
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.


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