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Re: Thoughts/questions for any candidate


Le 2015-03-13 02:20, Anthony Towns a écrit :
Number one is something like "where should the innovation come from?"

GN> You may notice that unlike in previous years, I do not have a Grand
GN> Vision, not in the same sense at least.

MD> Of course, those are not trivial questions and I don't claim I have MD> answers. Solutions and ideas will come from contributors. Solutions
MD> will come from you! Do not be shy and do make proposals.

I think it's fair to say algernon and mehdi both emphasise the role of
supporting other people's innovative ideas rather than promoting their
own. (Maulkin splits the difference a bit, I think, given he's got a
specific proposal for PPAs and buildds in his platform)

That's a very workable plan, but it has one (IMO) huge drawback: the
DPL position is /the/ optimal place to be in Debian if you want to be
innovative. You have resources, your ideas have been scrutinised and
(to some extent) approved by the developers, and (almost) whenever
you want it you've got the immediate attention of developers, users,
the press, or sponsors at your beck and call.

The DPL position is ideal place to get attention, but not necessarily to be innovative, /If/ the DPL is innovative, it is good... but I don't see
the link between visibility and innovation. Given the DPL's activities,
his "cool new stuff" will likely not be a "technical" project but of
other nature.

Is it fair to expect cool new innovations within Debian if all the
attention goes to someone who's not doing cool new stuff?

TBH, I found your remark a little bit unfair: algernon's platform and
approach to the DPL role is, what we can describe of, innovative. So I
expect him to be innovative even he didn't list explicitly innovative
plans. In my platform, I outlined a few projects I worked on which I
consider innovative too.

We don't necessarily realize it easily but we are part of a nice
community where innovation is widespread. The main problem that I see
is that innovation might not be visible to everyone and that's where
I expect the DPL to take advantage of his position and advertize "new
cool stuff" happening in Debian.

Number two is something in that nature of "how to share the DPL's
workload". I think this is widely acknowledged as a challenge, eg:

NM> the job of the DPL is a tough one that requires a lot of work, and
NM> I don't want to bite off more than I can chew

MD> The DPL role is very time-consuming. To be able to do it seriously,
MD> I will put on hold my other Debian activities for the duration of
MD> the mandate.

I have three thoughts on that. First is that (I believe) one of the
biggest workloads for the DPL is conflict resolution/mediation. But
there's recently been some talk about the tech ctte addressing that same issue eg [1], [2]. It's obviously an open question whether it will work or not, but I'd be interested to know if the DPL candidates are thinking of trying to help make it work, and (if/when it does) to refer folks to
the ctte freeing up DPL-time for other things?

Freeing up DPL-time by making other people more busy doesn't scale well, IMHO. It is also more problematic if that group of people is busy enough
already (and even if awesome people joined the team recently).

Sometimes, people should remind themselves that there is another human
on the other side of the line. Many remember this when they meet other
people in real life. They start thinking twice before sending an email.
Maybe we should encourage people to get talk to each other and hear each
other's voice. We used to do that in Debian's early days to confirm new
contributors' identity.

The second idea on this I have is perhaps a little twisty. First a
reference from a while ago: [3]. There have been lots of ideas on how to scale the DPL role -- teams, 2ICs, boards, helpers, etc. Problem is, none of them have worked perfectly, and everyone who's elected DPL is a leader,
not a follower, so they come up with their own plan from scratch. Then
that idea doesn't work perfectly either, rinse, repeat. At some point,
we need a DPL who'll take one of the previous ideas that worked a little,
improve it only slightly (ie, so it's still recognisable), and turn it
into a tradition that can keep improving. Any chance of that happening
this year?

It is true that I didn't mention explicitly in my platform how I'd share my DPL-work, if elected. As a DD, I can only observe that previous plans
to share the DPL's workload didn't work perfectly. But I still think it
is important to keep trying for many reasons. One of them is simply to
make sure others understand the DPL's activity. The second reason is
related to the fact that I don't expect the DPL to do all what he has
to do alone. So, it is reasonable to off-load some tasks to other groups
or individuals. As mentioned by Neil, #debian-dpl was a nice initiative
and I'd be happy to keep it going as it has been useful for both DPL and
"helpers"... and is open to everyone.



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