Discussion:
Questions for all candidates: role models
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Steve Langasek
2006-03-02 02:58:14 UTC
Permalink
Questions for all candidates:

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?

Candidate platforms always tend to focus on what's wrong with the project;
this is somewhat natural, since if you don't believe anything's wrong,
you're not likely to go to the trouble. My question is: what will you do
to inspire your fellow developers to greatness in the year to come?
--
Steve Langasek Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer to set it on, and I can move the world.
***@debian.org http://www.debian.org/
Ari Pollak
2006-03-02 05:30:29 UTC
Permalink
What's your favorite color?
My favorite color is blue.
What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
"Belgian Chocolate" is always a good choice.
Do you prefer "favourite" or "favorite?"
Yes.


Thanks for the opportunity to answer these questions!
Anthony Towns
2006-03-02 12:38:45 UTC
Permalink
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.

Cheers,
aj
Martin Michlmayr
2006-03-02 15:09:45 UTC
Permalink
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.
Regarding the NM Front Desk, what you say is completely wrong. First
of all, what I did as Front Desk is what I _personally_ did, rather
than acting as DPL. Also. there was never a redundancy problem in the
Front Desk since I was able to handle it well on my own (sure, there's
the bus scenario; but the point is that the FD was working fine).
However, after a few years I started to lose interest in this work and
so I added Marc and Brian, trained them, and eventually resigned.
--
Martin Michlmayr
http://www.cyrius.com/
Anthony Towns
2006-03-02 15:36:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Towns
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.
Actually, one thing that I forgot there, that really impressed me (to the
point where I don't at all mind giving it its own post) was Branden's
thanks for the sarge release [0]. I don't think any DPL's done that
before, or at the very least not so clearly and deliberately, and when
I contrast it to Bdale forgetting to mention the release even happened
(!!) [1], well, I'm jealous, what can I say?

Cheers,
aj

[0] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2005/06/msg00128.html
http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2005/07/msg00002.html

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2002/09/msg00003.html
http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2002/09/msg00004.html
Jutta Wrage
2006-03-07 19:58:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Towns
people knew Debian was exciting and
growing thanks to his posts to -announce and -private when interesting
things happened;
More important for Debian were his posts to -announce and his
visibility outside Debian than those in -private. He was that one of
the leaders who might have done the most important promotion work to
spread Debian around the world.

cu

Jutta

- --
http://www.witch.westfalen.de
http://witch.muensterland.org
Martin Michlmayr
2006-03-07 20:04:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jutta Wrage
More important for Debian were his posts to -announce and his
visibility outside Debian than those in -private.
FWIW, the DPL cannot post to -announce and most suggestions for
announcement I made were rejected by our press guy. (e.g. when
Munich started talking about a deployment of Debian I was told
that "they" should announce that rather than us). There are a
number of other missed opportunities.
--
Martin Michlmayr
http://www.cyrius.com/
Bill Allombert
2006-03-02 15:27:22 UTC
Permalink
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?
Well, I don't know much about the four first ones, the first one I
really saw in action being Ben Collins. Given that, I most admire
Martin Michlmayr. As a leader, Martin has promoted an amazing number of
organizational changes in Debian, but something I especially admire is
that Martin managed to keep the Debian climate sane by always providing
kind answers to enquiries so people knew problems were worked and not
ignored.

I certainly have a lot of admiration for the first leaders that founded
Debian, devised the constitution, set up the infrastructure, etc. We are
obviously in debt of them for creating Debian as we know it. But I
did not see them in action, so they cannot be a role model for me.
Post by Steve Langasek
Candidate platforms always tend to focus on what's wrong with the project;
this is somewhat natural, since if you don't believe anything's wrong,
you're not likely to go to the trouble. My question is: what will you do
to inspire your fellow developers to greatness in the year to come?
I will work for integrating more projects inside Debian, induce more
developers to work on distributions-wide tasks and provide resources
to them, reduce artificial barrier from contributing, e.g. by setting
contact point where developers are not shy of applying.

I will ensure all the Debian-specific projects, whoses make Debian a
unique distribution, are actively maintained and developped. In the past
projects have tended to be developped serially instead of in parallel,
some project having momentum while some others go unmaintained. Having
all Debian-specific projects actively developed would allow Debian to
reach new heights.

Working in parallel best fit Debian developement process, that is why we
can support more than 15000 packages. We need to use that to our
advantage by splitting tasks between people with different set of
skills.

Cheers,
--
Bill. <***@debian.org>

Imagine a large red swirl here.
Steve McIntyre
2006-03-03 00:31:39 UTC
Permalink
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?
*grin* That's an awkward question, not least because I'm a friend of
several of our previous DPLs. We've had a succession of DPLs with a
wide variety of leadership styles; picking just one is difficult.

As a purely personal choice, I'd have to go for Bdale. He has a wealth
of experience which helps gain the respect of technical people in
Debian, plus a well-measured, authoritative style that in my
experience works well in discussions and debates.
Post by Steve Langasek
Candidate platforms always tend to focus on what's wrong with the project;
this is somewhat natural, since if you don't believe anything's wrong,
you're not likely to go to the trouble. My question is: what will you do
to inspire your fellow developers to greatness in the year to come?
My main goal on that front is to be visible working on and for
Debian. My experience over the years is that the best way to make
positive things happen in Debian is to get involved and _make_
positive things happen. Good work inspires more good work.
--
Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK. ***@einval.com
"C++ ate my sanity" -- Jon Rabone
Jeroen van Wolffelaar
2006-03-03 21:15:53 UTC
Permalink
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?
This one is a very hard one for me to tell, because when I became active
in Debian, Martin Michlmayr was DPL already for half a year. I've
however met five of the past and current DPL's in person (Ian Jackson to
current except Ben Collins), but well, that's not really a good view on
their leadership qualities.

Anyway, of the people I know a bit, I admire Bdale most. He's quite well
a communicator, and goes along with a lot of people well. To me, Bdale
is kind of the personification of having fun in Debian, of Debian's
solidness, and working all together on a great OS. I believe this is one
of the most important aspects of a DPL, and while my own charisma isn't
even close to Bdale's, I do want to send out the same message in ways
that suit me better. If you've never met Bdale, try to do so, he travels
the world, and is always prepared to sit on his talking chair and tell
really interesting stories about one of the many areas he's been
involved in.
Post by Steve Langasek
Candidate platforms always tend to focus on what's wrong with the project;
this is somewhat natural, since if you don't believe anything's wrong,
you're not likely to go to the trouble. My question is: what will you do
to inspire your fellow developers to greatness in the year to come?
Most items I noted in my platform already, I'll do my utmost best
to keep/make everybody proud to be part of this project:
- by making sure the whole open source world knows Debian is alive and
kicking, and still doing great things;
- by making sure that Debian people are much more aware of all the nice
little projects and things happening inside Debian;
- and last but not least, by helping innovative things to actually
happen by increasing productivity and via that creativity on our
communication channels

--Jeroen
--
Jeroen van Wolffelaar
***@wolffelaar.nl (also for Jabber & MSN; ICQ: 33944357)
http://Jeroen.A-Eskwadraat.nl
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