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Re: editing Debian documentation

On Fri, Jul 30, 2004 at 11:51:01AM +1000, Jenn Vesperman wrote:
> On Fri, 2004-07-30 at 06:05, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > > Do document maintainers have to go through months of hell like package 
> > > maintainers to be officially accepted?
> > 
> > If having to wait a few months for voting rights and formal recognition
> > by the project is "hell" to you, I don't really have much consolation to
> > offer.  With few notable exceptions, most NMs weather their stay in the
> > queue with equanimity; and as a non-packaging developer, if anything
> > there would be fewer obstacles in the way of you getting work done than
> > for a package maintainer NM.
> Steve, 
> I think the question for you to be asking here is 'what is it that Carla
> is perceiving as months of hell?'
> I've known her for some time, and Carla would not be viewing a couple of
> months of working and proving her ability in a neutral (or supportive)
> environment as 'hell'. Therefore, I assume that there's something else
> causing her to say that.
> I suspect that learning what it is would be a useful thing for Debian,
> if only so that you can try to correct a reputation (if unearned) or the
> environment (if earned).
> Carla,
> Would you be willing/able to define 'months of hell'?

Mind if I step in on this one? I literally just found out that I've passed
through NM successfully, and I would not qualify it as hellish at all. The
basics of what I went through are all outlined at nm.debian.org, and it
basically amounts to some tests that make you scavenge through policy and the
DFSG to prove your mettle and knowledge of Debian. The new maintainer process
(NM) isn't designed to beat you down, but rather to get you up to speed and
teach you the things that are required of a Debian developer. You pass two
tests, one on Policy and Procedures and another on Tasks and Skills. Both
basically entail knowing the Social Contract, DFSG, Policy, and the Developer's
reference. You don't need to know them back and forth, and there's no real time
limit on the tests, so do them at your own pace. You can also ask for
clarification and help if you really need, but all the answers are at your
fingertips and you should be able to figure them all out yourself.

Another task is to get your GPG key signed by at least one DD, which then
allows you to be in the web of trust. This can be difficult for some people,
and was the cause of the majority of the holdup for me.

Finally, there's the end wait. After you're done with the tests and the key
signing, you have to wait for the front desk and the debian applications
manager (DAM) to approve of you. This step involves patience, as your
application and dedication is reviewed by both parties (who are very busy in
roles outside of this) and it can take a long time to get accepted. This has
been given the nickname of DAMnation, because it can take months with no word.
However, this period is what frustrates most applicants, and most people who
speak about the difficulties of NM are in relation to this period. It's not
hard though, it's just frustrating to wait without any word of what's going on.
However, you should be able to use the same sponsors you used previously while
going through NM to get your packages uploaded and your work done.

All in all, if you're patient and are more concerned with getting work done
than getting an @debian.org email address, then NM shouldn't be hard for you at
all. Indeed, once I hit the DAM waiting period, I didn't care nearly as much
because I had ready sponsors for all of my packages, and by this point I'd met
enough other DD's (both online and in person) to be able to get another sponsor
should I really have needed it. Waiting for the DAM isn't a true barrier to
getting work done, and it's definitely not hell.

Anyhow, I hope that answers your question about the whole process. I can't
speak for Carla as to why it would be considered hell, other than what she
probably read from people complaining about the DAM waiting period on various
debian lists. Please ask me more about it if you have questions.

 - David Nusinow

p.s. It's very exciting to finally get through NM, and makes the waiting period
worthwhile, if you truly want to help the project.

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