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Re: to DPL candidates: getting new people to Debian

Serafeim Zanikolas <sez@debian.org> writes:

> On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 11:21:05AM +0100, Lucas Nussbaum wrote [edited]:
>> But asking students to contribute to Debian during university projects is quite
>> difficult (I have thought about it numerous times, but never found a
>> good-enough idea).  it would be interesting to share feedback on that, to
>> identify and suppress potential blockers.
> If you refer to university students in some software-related discipline: have
> you considered assignments for the preparation of patches for wishlist bugs in
> native and pseudo-packages (eg. infra-related sw projects)?

That doesn't really help, in my opinion. It will be a 'forced'
contribution, one which will not continue past the assignment. That's
not really what we should aim for. Unless you make it interesting and
worthwhile for them to continue contributing, they will not do anything
more than strictly required, simply because that's not what they find

Prove them that it's worth it, that having significant contributions to
Debian (or any other bigger free software project for that matter) on
their resume is a good thing, and  you're much closer to the
goal. Simply telling people to do this and that, because you have the
power to tell them will have the exact opposite effect. Instead, we must
find a way to make these tasks not only visible and known, but
interesting and worthwhile to pursue too. (Which also means we need
people on the Debian side too, to help and mentor the students - without
that, it's an exercise of futility.)

> More generally, I think that our needs for native development are not nearly
> as well advertised as are those for packaging-related work (WNPP).

...and this highlights another issue I have with our infrastructure:
wnpp can be quite an intimidating mess, with over a thousand packages in
ITP and RFP state. That's a lot. I get scared just by looking at the
number, and I'd like to think I'm not the only one.


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