Re: Your opinion on Debian Maintainer status
Raphael Hertzog <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> To all, what's your opinion on the DM status? Has it been effective?
I used to feel strongly unenthusiastic about the DM status. Not because
I found it ineffective (I believe it had, and still has merit), but
because it sounded like introducing second-class citizenship.
If I had voted in 2007, I would have been torn: I either vote for it,
because it opens new doors, or vote against it, because it does not
align with my moral views. Most likely, I would have voted against it at
that point. Thankfully, I did not, because I would regret it now.
Since then, in the past... maybe two years, I realised something
important: it was not my moral ideals the DM status clashed with, the
real issue I had with it was not what I thought at first. It was my
pride. In my pride, I thought that giving limited upload rights to DMs,
that placing seemingly harsh restrictions on them would belittle their
efforts. But it doesn't. It is a safety net, that protects them more,
than it protects us, a net that makes it possible for people to
contribute in ways that were not possible before. It allows people to
become DDs - if they want to - in a much smoother way. It doesn't
belittle, it empowers.
Perhaps its best if I try an analogy:
Not having a DM status means: "Oh, you built a bicycle! Great, let me
ride it for you!", eventually (and hopefully) followed by "I see you
build great bikes. Wanna join the airplane building business?".
Quite intimidating, not really rewarding in the beginning, and quite
painful to work in this manner too. Contrast it with having a DM status:
"Oh, you built a bicycle! Great, put on these training wheels and see
how it goes, okay? Be safe!", followed by a gradual process of either
happily building and riding bikes making everyone happy, or if
interested, joining the airplane building business. A whole different
thing, although both have the word "building" in it.
Similarly, DDs and DMs often do similar things (make packages), but DDs
also do other things (or well, they really should) that DMs may or may
not want to. With the status being recognised, they have the option to
pursue further, or continue maintaining their set of packages, if
they're only interested in that. We, as in Debian, win either way, but
for DMs, the existence of this status opens a much friendlier entry into
the world of Debian than if it did not exist.
We have close to two hundred entries in the debian-maintainers-keyring,
that's a respectable number, which reaffirms my recentish change of
heart, that the DM status is a good thing, and while it does not solve
all problems, it is, nevertheless, a useful thing to have.