Post by Steve Langasek
If elected, you will be the ninth Project Leader in Debian's history. Of
the preceding eight DPLs, which one do you admire most as a leader and why?
I wasn't part of the project when the Ian Murdock was leader -- I'd not
long begun using Unix and Linux by the time he stepped down, even --
so I can't comment.
I think there was a lot to admire about Bruce's term as leader: Debian
made regular releases (six-monthly at that) including its first ever
release, buzz (aslo, rex and bo); people knew Debian was exciting and
growing thanks to his posts to -announce and -private when interesting
things happened; and Bruce raised a lot of interesting topics for
discussion that ensured Debian kept focussing on improving. One thing
he didn't do well was accept that on some of them, -- such as switching
to the rpm format -- no one was really interested. I think that sort of
active leadership is really important, but it's not the sort of thing
that can come from just the DPL, and it's not the sort of thing that
can happen by force, or to the exclusion of other approaches.
Ian was DPL at the time I joined, and his term as DPL included the hamm
release. He was (iirc) focussed on setting things up so that future DPLs
wouldn't get burned out in the same way Bruce did, and also worked on
revitalising SPI; which is a level of background organisation that's
important to have and maintain.
Wichert was DPL for two years, during which time both slink and potato
were released, and was notable (to me) for working on advancing the
discussion of important projects like the archive changes for pool/ and
testing, debconf, and the new new-maintainer process, as well as being
active in working on dpkg to get control over some of the numerous bugs
that it had accreted.
Ben was the next DPL, and the first one to miss out on a release during
his term. I mostly remember Ben for helping get the crypto-in-main process
going and supporting it to a conclusion. He was probably fairly hands on
in helping organise Debian's server assets too, but I try to know as little
as possible about that.
Bdale was next, and had the woody release under his watch. We met
at linux.conf.au, and personally, I count his suport then as being
particularly helpful in getting woody out. Bdale was an excellent
advocate for Debian during his term, being able to go represnet Debian
regularly at conferences and also managing a very symbiotic relationship
between his work and his role as DPL. His "Bits from..." posts weren't
as frequent as he'd intended, but were very effective in starting up a
trend of other people doing reports; in September 2002, eg, there were
bits from the DPL, the RM, the SRM, the RNE and a WTC.
Martin was next, and in spite of being DPL for two years, also missed
out on a release. He spent a fair bit of time giving talks about Debian,
working on improving QA, and helping the n-m process. The latter resulted
in Joerg joining the DAM team, and also in the handover of FrontDesk to
Marc and Brian -- basically the first steps in ensuring both of those
roles had some actual redundancy to them.
Which leaves Branden as our current DPL, and in whose term sarge got
released. I'm not sure how it went on behind the scenes, but Branden and
Manoj seem to have been responsible for getting the technical committee
on the road to revitalisation, and I think it's fair to contribute some
of the security improvements we've had to his attention in the area. One
area that was particularly impressive was that, post-election, there wasn't
a "my way or the highway" approach to achieving his goals.
So I'll say the key things I admire out of the above were:
* Raising new challenges for the project to address
* Picking particular important projects and trying to get them
to a result personally
* Being available to support people working on Debian
* Resisting the desire to try forcing people who disagree with you
into your point of view
If you insist I pick one, I'll pick Bruce as the one I most admire,
for the reasons, and with the caveat, above.
Post by Steve Langasek
My question is: what will you do
to inspire your fellow developers to greatness in the year to come?
After all the "I'll post regular updates" promises we've seen made but not
kept, I'll go with this: I'll try to keep doing what I have been doing
over the past six months or so, try to focus on making improvements on
the areas I've outlined in my platform, and be ready to adapt my priorities
and views as needed.