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Re: All DPL candidates: about the PPAMAIN

Hi Thomas,

On 15/03/14 at 15:07 +0800, Thomas Goirand wrote:
> Hi,
> Neil, in your platform, you wrote:
> "I will push for implementation of "PPA" archives, and modernising our
> build and infrastructure system by working with the FTP Masters,
> wanna-build team, and DSA. It should be much easier for us to produce a
> working system with the correct tools, and some of our core
> infrastructure has not been keeping up with what we need to make such a
> large system."
> Well, thanks for writing this, I also think it's one of the very
> important things that must happen in Debian. It's not secret, I'd love
> to have PPAMAIN available as well (namely for packaging OpenStack).
> Though, it is my understanding that those who are capable of doing the
> work are too busy. So what is your plan? Is using Debian money for
> sponsoring that work one of the things you would do? If yes, up to what
> amount would you accept to spend? (note: I think it would be money
> wisely spent)
> Lucas, what is your take on this?

Sorry for the delay in answering your question -- since Neil raised this
in his platform and you specificallly asked him first, I wanted to give
him a chance to answer.

Beyond PPA, there are several bits of our infrastructure that are not
really up to par, at least regarding what Debian would like them to be.
Unfortunately, there's no DPL magic wand that one can use to fix that.
We are all volunteers, and we all decide what we work on inside Debian
based on our own interests and motivations, not because the DPL tells us
to do something.

As a prerequisite of seeking help, I think that we should work a bit
more on documenting how to contribute to some pieces of our
infrastructure: how can one setup a development instance, what's the
general structure of the code, what are easy tasks to start with, etc.
Unfortunately, the main people working on our infrastructure are
generally quite busy with other tasks in Debian, and sometimes too busy
even to do that documentation work.

So what can we do? Not much, besides stressing that those pieces of
infrastructure are critical, and that someone who started to contribute
to them would really be a hero for many Debian contributors. That's
something I did in the past[1], actually (with little success).
[1] https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2013/10/msg00002.html

You ask specifically if we should spend Debian money on that. I'm deeply
attached to Debian's community-based model, where we do almost
everything in-house with volunteers. That's a feature of the Debian
project that I like very much, and I would find it very sad (and an
admission of failure for the project as the whole) if we had to pay
someone to do that kind of work.


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