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Re: Survey - what do you want out of this?

On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 14:28:13 -0800, Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> wrote:
> Side topic:
> Are there aspects of Debian's structure and/or culture which you believe
> contribute to a feeling of a "big, remote organization" when compared with
> other large Open Source projects, or is size the main factor?

Indeed there are.

The fact that I have to maintain packages to be something more than
just "A user", the fact that I have to go through the NM process to be
able to vote, and the fact that lots of the important decisions are
taken by a really small group and I am too unimportant to participate.

In other OS projects, the only limitation to being or not being a
member is "contributing", in whichever way you might contribute.  You
don't have to go through a long process just to feel "part" of the
project.  Maybe you won't be granted CVS access immediately, but when
you contribute a patch, your name appears in the changelog and you
consider yourself part of it.  (I know that names also appear in
changelogs in Debian, but these are kind of much more difficult to
find and they give this feeling that they aren't really important).

I know that Debian is a big project, and that this is the main reason
for all these things I'm pointing out, but yet I feel that not every
big project has to be like this.

Let's say, GNOME, for example, they have a team called Gnome-Love that
works with people who want to get involved with the project and
encourages them to find their way around so that they can really
contribute.  I know that debian-mentors is related to this, but in the
case of Gnome, I feel they really want more contributors, in the case
of Debian, I feel that I have to prove that I can be a good
contributor before someone wants me to be part of the project.

Also, the violence of debian-devel@l.d.o is a big draw-back.  It has
the effect that I am so wary of saying something wrong that I end up
not participating, or at least not as much as I would like to.

There are lots of things I like about the project, though, and that's
why I want to contribute.  But as I've said more than once before, if
we *really* want to take over the world, and -more seriously- we
**really** are devoted to our users, then we should start building a
more open community.  How can users be our first priority if we can't
listen to what they want and what they are asking for?  How can we
devote ourselves to someone we don't know?

I'm thinking about talking about all this in the next Debconf, but I'm
afraid I'll be tossed rotten tomatos (or their verbal equivalent).


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