Discussion:
Questions to candidates
(too old to reply)
Andreas Tille
2004-03-02 14:20:16 UTC
Permalink
Hi,

this morning I wrote in private to the DPL candidates but tbm asked me to
foreward my questions to debian-vote which I'm doing hereby ...

Here are my questions:

1. My concern is to propagate Custom Debian Distributions because
I think we should set a stronger focus to the end user. I see
Debian as a missing link between upstream developers and end
users and Custom Debian distributions are a good way to care for
end users.

What are your plans according to Custom Debian Distributions?

2. Recently we had some flamewars about concentration of "power" for
some people inside Debian. While I'm much more relaxed than many
others and save my time for work instead of fighting flame wars
I have one certain question here. How do you see the role of
James Troup in the project?

While I think that he did a great job in terms of finding technical
solutions he absolutely fails in communication with people. This
starts with the fact that he is known to actively maintain a quite
long killfile (accompanied with the ability to ignore requests
of people) and ends with the inability to accept critics to his
person. While I have no personal problems to cope with those
people I noticed that this behaviour of a person who is doing
not only one important job for the project does harm to the Debian
project in general. I had several private discussions with
outsiders. For instance one opinion was that the persion would
not apply as New Maintainer as long as James Troup is ruling
Debian. (Please note: I do not think that James Troup is really
ruling Debian - I was just quoting.)

So what are your plans to enhance communication with people on
important positions in Debian and how do you think that important
jobs might be split onto different shoulders?

3. Do you think Debian should continue to support non-free?

4. Does your normal live allow sparsing time for Debian leadership
which seems to include much additional work (perhaps you will not
be able to continue on working on your packages) and does your
current employer accept your intention.

A. Meta-question: Do you know that your jpb as a Debian leader has
the consequence to travel in several countries all over the world
which might lead to the situation that some countries handle you
like a criminal by taking your finger prints? I personally would
not like to be handled like a criminal and thus I did not accepted
the invitation to a conference in Texas.

Thanks for supporting Debian by volunteering for leadership

Andreas.


PS: I have read the plans of each candidate and know that some of my
questions are answered indirectly in some statements but I wanted
to ask these question to each of you in the same manner. I do not
mind if you answer any of these question via a link to a certain
paragraph of your statements.
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-02 17:12:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andreas Tille
this morning I wrote in private to the DPL candidates but tbm asked
me to foreward my questions to debian-vote which I'm doing hereby
Yes, I think it's important to share these answers with everyone who
is interested.
Post by Andreas Tille
1. My concern is to propagate Custom Debian Distributions because I
think we should set a stronger focus to the end user. I see Debian
as a missing link between upstream developers and end users and
Custom Debian distributions are a good way to care for end users.
What are your plans according to Custom Debian Distributions?
I partly cover this in my section "External/internal - Debian based
Distributions". I see two developments: sub-projects in Debian with a
special focus, and projects outside of Debian based on our system. I
think that both developments are very good and beneficial, and show
the success of Debian. As DPL, I intend to work with Debian
sub-projects to make sure that they can achieve their goals, and that
they are not isolated in the project. Also, as described in my
platform, I think Debian can profit to a great extend from Debian
based distributions, and I intend to work with them to make sure that
their work gets integrated into Debian. Ideally, they would join
Debian and lead their project as a Debian sub-project. This is why I
mentioned this point as "external/internal" rather than just
"external" -- I think everyone will benefit from getting them closer
to Debian.

As to your statement about Debian being the "missing link between
upstream developers and end users". I fully agree with this. I think
Debian provides a great service to the community, e.g. by forwarding
bug reports to upstream, compiling and testing upstream software on
many architectures, etc. I am also excited to see a growing number of
upstream authors directly getting involved in Debian!
Post by Andreas Tille
2. Recently we had some flamewars about concentration of "power" for
some people inside Debian. [...] How do you see the role of James
Troup in the project?
I think James is an excellent contributor to the project. I know him
personally, and I can assure you that he is not on a power trip. He
performs so many tasks in the project and holds key positions simply
because of the amount of work he puts into Debian, and because there
are often no other volunteers with the time or knowledge. Most
people are not aware of this, but after the compromise James stayed up
until 4am-5am or even longer every night, and even took off a day of
work to work on the restoration of our services. I'd like to see such
a devotion to Debian from more people! In any case, I am fully aware
that there are complaints about James ...
Post by Andreas Tille
While I think that he did a great job in terms of finding technical
solutions he absolutely fails in communication with people.
... he does not _absolutely_ fail to communicate with people; there is
a large number of people who communicate with him without any
problems. For example, I'm in contact with him on an almost daily
basis. However, it's true that his communication can be improved, and
that there are some problems. However, I think the problems are much
smaller than they appear to outsiders. Usually, you don't notice when
something works as expected. You only notice when it suddenly breaks.
So if 95% of communication with James works well, we will never hear
about it. But we hear about the 5% which fails.

In any case, what can be done to improve communication? I think one
important step to take, and one I've been working on and which I
emphasize in my platform, is to assist James with his tasks. In many
cases, he is not unwilling to communicate but is simply too busy to
respond to everyone. If he would respond to everyone, he would not
get the important tasks he performs done. I think the situation can
be improved if more people assist James in his tasks. Finding people
for core teams is quite complicated (see my platform), but this is
what I will work on, and have been working on. For example, another
ftpmaster was added to help with NEW processing, and this certainly
helped. Myself, I respond to questions about the NM process. There
is also a second person responding to keyring requests. So, the first
step will be to clearly identify where help is needed (not just in the
teams James is involved, but in general), and to find people who can
provide assistance. This is a delicate task, and requires people's
skills. (When talking about evolution, there is this metaphor that
it's not possible to put the parts of an aeroplane in a box, shake it
and hope an aeroplane comes out; it's the same with people - you
cannot expect to put some random people together and hope they'll be a
good team. You have to select the right people, and the team has to
form evolutionary/naturally.)
Post by Andreas Tille
This starts with the fact that he is known to actively maintain a
quite long killfile
For personal mail - not for role accounts.
Post by Andreas Tille
So what are your plans to enhance communication with people on
important positions in Debian and how do you think that important
jobs might be split onto different shoulders?
The section "Internal - Core Teams, Delegates, Communication,
Transparency" of my platform is devoted to this topic. I think our
core teams have not grown as much as the rest of Debian, and this
leads to overworked developers, bad communication, etc. We have to
find more people for core teams, and also to provide better
documentation to make the teams and its processes more transparent.
FAQs would also help answer common questions.
Post by Andreas Tille
3. Do you think Debian should continue to support non-free?
No. Debian is about creating a operating system with free software,
and I don't think we should be in the business of distributing
non-free software. I think we should focus on what we do best (create
and integrate free software), and this would also get us closer to
other players in the community, such as the FSF.

Having said this, I don't think the current non-free removal vote is
being done correctly. If we decide to remove non-free, we have to
provide a good upgrade plan for our users. Thus, I think we should
*first* move non-free to something like non-free.org, encourage people
to use new APT sources list while at the same time supporting the old
APT lines (i.e. still keeping it on Debian mirrors) for a while.

I don't think that distributing non-free has benefits for our users in
the long run. By distributing it, we basically sanction its use and
give companies and other developers the message that it's "okay" to
have non DFSG-free licenses. I don't think it is, and we should
present a clear, coherent message. Moving non-free to an outside
project preserves Debian philosophy about free software, and at the
same time ensures that users will be supported.

Also, non-free does not meet the quality of the rest of Debian in many
aspects. As a QA member, I once looked through non-free and found
much more unmaintained packages than in main. This is probably
because a large number of Debian developers don't care about non-free.
non-free is also not built on all architectures we support, and often
bugs cannot be fixed (e.g. acrobat 4, which had to be removed because
we couldn't fix a security bug).
Post by Andreas Tille
4. Does your normal live allow sparsing time for Debian leadership
which seems to include much additional work (perhaps you will not be
able to continue on working on your packages) and does your current
employer accept your intention.
I've addressed this in my platform, but I'd like to elaborate. Last
year, I was a Master's student at the University of Melbourne and
there was a great deal of overlap between my studies and research, and
Debian. I worked full-time on Debian during this time, probably even
more than that. (I did not totally neglect my studies, however, even
if my priority was Debian. I completed my degree with excellent
results.) I partly chose to do a PhD about free software because
this would allow me to devote time to Debian; (and partly because I'm
interested in finding ways to improve the quality of free software; I
think we're doing pretty well, but we can still make it better!).
Therefore, I see myself working on Debian full-time like before, and
have done so for the first two months of my PhD. So it's working
pretty well.
Post by Andreas Tille
A. Meta-question: Do you know that your jpb as a Debian leader has
the consequence to travel in several countries all over the world
which might lead to the situation that some countries handle you
like a criminal by taking your finger prints?
While I don't like these practices, I don't consider them off-putting
enough not to visit a country if there's a good reason to go there.
However, this has to be decided on a case by case basis. As far as I
know, EU citizens also don't have to get their finger prints recorded.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Andreas Tille
2004-03-02 19:31:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
I think James is an excellent contributor to the project. I know him
personally, and I can assure you that he is not on a power trip. He
...
Well thanks for the clarification. I just want to make sure that this
explanation is given to _everyone_ (not only to me) who might have doubt.
My question was rather a concern to make sure to outsiders can see that
Debian has no hidden secrets but can discuss his problems open.
Post by Martin Michlmayr
something works as expected. You only notice when it suddenly breaks.
So if 95% of communication with James works well, we will never hear
about it. But we hear about the 5% which fails.
Damn users ... this is always the same. ;-)
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Having said this, I don't think the current non-free removal vote is
being done correctly. If we decide to remove non-free, we have to
provide a good upgrade plan for our users. Thus, I think we should
*first* move non-free to something like non-free.org, encourage people
to use new APT sources list while at the same time supporting the old
APT lines (i.e. still keeping it on Debian mirrors) for a while.
Trick question: Do you plan to do this step before or after moving
documentation with non-free licenses to non-free. ;-)
Post by Martin Michlmayr
While I don't like these practices, I don't consider them off-putting
enough not to visit a country if there's a good reason to go there.
However, this has to be decided on a case by case basis. As far as I
know, EU citizens also don't have to get their finger prints recorded.
While this is intended by the law I know that the practice might
differ from case to case - but this is very off-topic here. That's
why I named it "Meta-Question" and I do not really expected an answer.
BTW, Brandon might come into the same trouble when entering Debconf 4 ...

Kind regards

Andreas.
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-02 22:58:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andreas Tille
Well thanks for the clarification. I just want to make sure that this
BTW, there's something else I wanted to clarify. Something asked me
about this in private, and I thought I'd answer her as well.
Basically the question is whether I am trying to "assimilate" all
Debian based projects into Debian and whether this is a good idea.

I realize my platform might not have been clear about this. I am not
trying to merge all Debian based projects into Debian - not if it
doesn't make sense to do so. In some cases, it makes sense to merge
work into Debian; but I realize that a certain autonomy give those
projects flexibility which is important. For example, it gives them
the freedom to do released independent from our release cycle. So I'd
like to clarify: I intend to work together with other projects as
close as possible; and if it makes sense, then effort should be
combined and merged. However, I realize that this is not possible in
all cases, and that those projects benefit from their autonomy.
Post by Andreas Tille
Trick question: Do you plan to do this step before or after moving
documentation with non-free licenses to non-free. ;-)
My plan is to get the license changed so the documentation is free
according to our rules. See my other posting in this thread.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-03 02:59:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andreas Tille
Post by Martin Michlmayr
something works as expected. You only notice when it suddenly
breaks. So if 95% of communication with James works well, we will
never hear about it. But we hear about the 5% which fails.
Damn users ... this is always the same. ;-)
Well, I don't want to play it down. If there is a problem, it has to
be fixed, no matter if it's 1% or 5%. It's also not just users, but
developers as well. However, one disturbing trend I have seen is that
FUD is increasingly common. It seems to be "in" to rant about various
things, even if it has no factual basis. In many cases, I see very
uninformed postings. This is a real problem because people are no
longer available to distinguish between real problems and mere rants.
Due to this, there is a growing number of developers and users who
feel that Debian is falling apart, while it fact most things are
working pretty well. We have to do something against this, otherwise
more and more people will get frustrated (also see my answer to AJ's
mail, especially the end). My approach to this is to give _factual_
information (one example for this would be my posting about the status
of buildds, but there are many similar postings from me; for one, see
http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2004/debian-devel-200402/msg00463.html).
Finally, I believe that complaints like "person X cannot communicate"
or "X sucks" or whatever are not very helpful (Andreas, I'm not
accusing you of doing so with your question; I'm talking in general,
based on what I see on -devel and other lists, and I think your
questioon is based on this as well). I try to identify exactly what
the problem is and then to tackle it.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Zenaan Harkness
2004-03-02 21:24:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Andreas Tille
3. Do you think Debian should continue to support non-free?
No. Debian is about creating a operating system with free software,
and I don't think we should be in the business of distributing
non-free software. I think we should focus on what we do best (create
and integrate free software), and this would also get us closer to
other players in the community, such as the FSF.
What about Debian distributing documentation - do you see it as
software, do you see all documentation (eg. philosophical) as software?

Eg. GFDL documentation?
RFCs?

ta
zen
David N. Welton
2004-03-02 21:51:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Zenaan Harkness
What about Debian distributing documentation - do you see it as
software, do you see all documentation (eg. philosophical) as software?
Eg. GFDL documentation?
RFCs?
Another thing that would be useful to add to all questions of this
type is something along the lines of "and as DPL, do you think you can
do anything about it, or plan to?" to hear whether the candidates plan
to do anything either personally or as DPL about any particular issue.
--
David N. Welton
Consulting: http://www.dedasys.com/
Personal: http://www.dedasys.com/davidw/
Free Software: http://www.dedasys.com/freesoftware/
Apache Tcl: http://tcl.apache.org/
Gergely Nagy
2004-03-02 22:19:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by David N. Welton
Post by Zenaan Harkness
What about Debian distributing documentation - do you see it as
software, do you see all documentation (eg. philosophical) as software?
Eg. GFDL documentation?
RFCs?
Another thing that would be useful to add to all questions of this
type is something along the lines of "and as DPL, do you think you can
do anything about it, or plan to?" to hear whether the candidates plan
to do anything either personally or as DPL about any particular issue.
I will answer that question here.

I would like to think about documentation as if it were software, so
that I can share and tweak it to my liking. Especially if it is
technical documentation, from which I can lift examples from, and build
them into my own programs. With this pattern, the documentation needs to
be software license friendly (in my case, GPL compatible), which for
example, the GDFL is not, and as far as I remember, the RFCs aren't
either.

As DPL, one does not really have a way to change the situation though.
As a distribution, we can move all such documentation to non-free, and
let the users flame the upstream authors for not having the
documentation at hand. However, that probably wouldn't work out too
well.

So, instead of this, I intend to finally release my new branch of tama
which I've been hacking on for quite a few years (well, actually only
two), which is skinnable, themeable, and can work as a frontend to
megahal. We just need an RMS skin and theme, feed some of his speeches
to megahal, then persuade it that the GFDL is bad, and then we have a
nice RMS replacement. Then, we hire a few Bad Guys, and replace the real
RMS with my tama thingy, and bingo! It relicenses all GDFL stuff under
the GPL or a compatible license, and problems are gone!
--
Gergely `Master Tama Breeder' Nagy
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-02 23:08:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by David N. Welton
Another thing that would be useful to add to all questions of this
type is something along the lines of "and as DPL, do you think you
can do anything about it, or plan to?" to hear whether the
candidates plan to do anything either personally or as DPL about any
particular issue.
I absolutely think we can and should try to do something about this.
In fact, in the case of the GFDL, I had various discussions with
Bradley Kuhn (Vice-President of the FSF) and later helped creating a
committee which discusses these issues with the FSF. There were some
conference calls and one meeting IRL, and we are currently waiting for
the FSF to post an update - everything has unfortunately been delayed
because RMS broke his arm a while ago. However, Don Armstrong and
Mako Hill (who represent Debian in this matter) are in close with Eben
Moglen, the FSF lawyer.

In general, I think that Debian has the responsibility to approach
other people if their software or documentation license is non-free
and to explain why this is bad (Of course, it is their right to create
software or licenses which don't comply with out DFSG, but we should
at least point out why we think it is important for software to be
free according to the DFSG).

My approach with regards to the GFDL is outlined in detail in
http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2003/debian-project-200310/msg00117.html
and some thoughts about being more proactive with regards to non-free
license can be found in
http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/debian-legal-200402/msg00117.html
(plus follow-ups).
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Branden Robinson
2004-03-03 07:12:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by David N. Welton
Post by Zenaan Harkness
What about Debian distributing documentation - do you see it as
software, do you see all documentation (eg. philosophical) as software?
Eg. GFDL documentation?
RFCs?
Another thing that would be useful to add to all questions of this
type is something along the lines of "and as DPL, do you think you can
do anything about it, or plan to?" to hear whether the candidates plan
to do anything either personally or as DPL about any particular issue.
I'm satisfied with our efforts to rectify the problems with the GNU FDL,
even if I'm a little disappointed in the speed with which the FSF is
moving on this.

However, I'm sympathetic to RMS having been injured, and I'm sympathetic
to Eben Moglen having to work overtime to counter the outrageous FUD and
untruths being spewed by SCO and its shadowy partners.
--
G. Branden Robinson | If atheism is a religion, then
Debian GNU/Linux | health is a disease.
***@debian.org | -- Clark Adams
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |
MJ Ray
2004-03-03 08:33:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
However, I'm sympathetic to RMS having been injured, and I'm
sympathetic
to Eben Moglen having to work overtime to counter the outrageous FUD and
untruths being spewed by SCO and its shadowy partners.
Hrm, emails like this should have "X-Warning: includes moderation and
conciliatory noises, may scare native animals" on them.

It's now over four years since RMS asked -legal for comments on the
FDL. Do DPL candidates think agreement is likely in the next three
months? How much longer should this discussion be given? What would
they do to see more FDL-caused bugs in Debian closed during their
term?
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-03 15:46:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by MJ Ray
It's now over four years since RMS asked -legal for comments on the
FDL. Do DPL candidates think agreement is likely in the next three
months? How much longer should this discussion be given? What would
they do to see more FDL-caused bugs in Debian closed during their
term?
It's hard to predict how much longer it is going to take. We are
basically waiting for the FSF to get back to us, but there have been
various delays because RMS broke his arm, and the SCO disaster, etc.
However, Bradley Kuhn (Vice-President of the FSF) and Eben Moglen
(FSF's lawyer) share some of our concerns and I am confident, from
talking to them, that they are truly interested in resolving this
issue. What I'll do and what I've done to resolve this: I approached
Bradley Kuhn last year and arranged a face to face meeting in Boston,
and later when Bdale was in Boston I asked him to discuss this issue
with Bradley again. Later, I helped opening constructive
communication between Debian and the FSF by appointing Mako Hill and
Don Armstrong as our representatives to the FSF about this matter.
Since then, I regularly stay in contact with them, and continually ask
Don for the status and ask him to stay in contact with Eben.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-03 16:29:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by MJ Ray
It's now over four years since RMS asked -legal for comments on the
FDL. Do DPL candidates think agreement is likely in the next three
months? How much longer should this discussion be given? What would
they do to see more FDL-caused bugs in Debian closed during their
term?
It's hard to predict how much longer it is going to take. We are
It is beginning to sound like this is devolving into a blue
sky open ended effort, with nothing to show for it in the last 5
months since I was asked to muzzle up my efforts on this front.
Post by Martin Michlmayr
basically waiting for the FSF to get back to us, but there have been
various delays because RMS broke his arm, and the SCO disaster, etc.
However, Bradley Kuhn (Vice-President of the FSF) and Eben Moglen
(FSF's lawyer) share some of our concerns and I am confident, from
talking to them, that they are truly interested in resolving this
issue. What I'll do and what I've done to resolve this: I
approached Bradley Kuhn last year and arranged a face to face
meeting in Boston, and later when Bdale was in Boston I asked him to
discuss this issue with Bradley again. Later, I helped opening
constructive communication between Debian and the FSF by appointing
Mako Hill and Don Armstrong as our representatives to the FSF about
this matter. Since then, I regularly stay in contact with them, and
continually ask Don for the status and ask him to stay in contact
with Eben.
Has all this talking resulted in even an iota of concrete
movement on the official FSF position? Have there been any real
promises made that there is indeed going to be a change, from hte
powers that be in the FSF? Is there anything solid we can show our
users about movement on this issue, neyond a bunch of people
wandering around talking about it behind the scenes?

manoj
--
"R&D is not something that can be useful alone... R&D is part of a
product- making process." Ralph E. Gomory, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,
New York City
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05 CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B 924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-03 17:13:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Has all this talking resulted in even an iota of concrete
movement on the official FSF position? Have there been any real
promises made that there is indeed going to be a change, from hte
powers that be in the FSF? Is there anything solid we can show our
users about movement on this issue, neyond a bunch of people
wandering around talking about it behind the scenes?
I think this is getting off-topic for -vote and that it should be
moved to -project. In any case, yes, the FSF promised us to make an
announcement about this matter, but everything was delayed due to the
reasons mentioned in the other mail. Anyway, I just mailed Don and
asked him to get a new status report from Eben.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Martin Michlmayr - Debian Project Leader
2004-03-05 01:00:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Has all this talking resulted in even an iota of concrete movement
on the official FSF position? Have there been any real promises
made that there is indeed going to be a change, from hte powers
that be in the FSF? Is there anything solid we can show our users
about movement on this issue, neyond a bunch of people wandering
around talking about it behind the scenes?
I think this is getting off-topic for -vote and that it should be
moved to -project. In any case, yes, the FSF promised us to make an
announcement about this matter, but everything was delayed due to
the reasons mentioned in the other mail. Anyway, I just mailed Don
and asked him to get a new status report from Eben.
Eben told me that there is a FSF board meeting at the end of this
month and that we can expect some updates shortly afterwards.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@debian.org
David B Harris
2004-03-03 17:19:03 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 03 Mar 2004 10:29:39 -0600
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by MJ Ray
It's now over four years since RMS asked -legal for comments on the
FDL. Do DPL candidates think agreement is likely in the next three
months? How much longer should this discussion be given? What would
they do to see more FDL-caused bugs in Debian closed during their
term?
It's hard to predict how much longer it is going to take. We are
It is beginning to sound like this is devolving into a blue
sky open ended effort, with nothing to show for it in the last 5
months since I was asked to muzzle up my efforts on this front.
By me, for reference.
MJ Ray
2004-03-04 10:15:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by MJ Ray
It's now over four years since RMS asked -legal for comments on the
FDL. Do DPL candidates think agreement is likely in the next three
months? How much longer should this discussion be given? What would
they do to see more FDL-caused bugs in Debian closed during their
term?
It's hard to predict how much longer it is going to take.
Additionally, I asked how much longer you think this discussion should
be given before taking further action. For example, is tagging
FDL-caused bugs <release>-ignore for the next four years acceptable?
I'm concerned that publicly ignoring these bugs weakens the ability of
Debian's representatives to FSF and -legal in general to seek licence
fixes that help us to fulfil our social contract. Do you share that
concern?
--
MJR/slef My Opinion Only and possibly not of any group I know.
Please http://remember.to/edit_messages on lists to be sure I read
http://mjr.towers.org.uk/ gopher://g.towers.org.uk/ ***@jabber.at
Creative copyleft computing services via http://www.ttllp.co.uk/
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-04 12:18:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by MJ Ray
Additionally, I asked how much longer you think this discussion
should be given before taking further action. For example, is
tagging FDL-caused bugs <release>-ignore for the next four years
acceptable?
In July last year, I was asked by some members of the FSF to give them
more time, and not to remove the documents because this would make it
harder to them to argue their case. Based on this, I decided for GFDL
related bugs to be handled as "sarge-ignore".
Post by MJ Ray
I'm concerned that publicly ignoring these bugs weakens the ability
of Debian's representatives to FSF and -legal in general to seek
licence fixes that help us to fulfil our social contract.
Do you share that concern?
Yes, we certainly cannot ignore these bugs infinitely. However, I
think we should give the FSF a chance to resolve this issue. Back In
July, I thought the issue would be resolved much quicker - but I also
thought Sarge would release much earlier. To answer your question: I
think we should wait until after the release of Sarge, and then again
evaluate the situation. If at that point they are still truly working
on resolving the issue, I think we can give them _some_ more time. If
not, it's time to remove the documents. Again, Don asked Eben for a
status report yesterday, and I hope to get an rough answer of where
they are.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Branden Robinson
2004-03-03 07:10:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Zenaan Harkness
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Andreas Tille
3. Do you think Debian should continue to support non-free?
No. Debian is about creating a operating system with free software,
and I don't think we should be in the business of distributing
non-free software. I think we should focus on what we do best (create
and integrate free software), and this would also get us closer to
other players in the community, such as the FSF.
What about Debian distributing documentation - do you see it as
software, do you see all documentation (eg. philosophical) as software?
I've expressed my thoughts on this extensively on debian-legal over the
past 3 years or so.

Basically, yes. Bits are bits. Copyrightable sequences of bits must
satisfy the DFSG to be allowed in Debian main.

That's how I interpret clause 1 of the Social Contract. That's what
"100% Free" means to me.
--
G. Branden Robinson | Any man who does not realize that
Debian GNU/Linux | he is half an animal is only half a
***@debian.org | man.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | -- Thornton Wilder
Martin Schulze
2004-03-03 07:16:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Zenaan Harkness
Post by Martin Michlmayr
No. Debian is about creating a operating system with free software,
and I don't think we should be in the business of distributing
non-free software. I think we should focus on what we do best (create
and integrate free software), and this would also get us closer to
other players in the community, such as the FSF.
What about Debian distributing documentation - do you see it as
software, do you see all documentation (eg. philosophical) as software?
Eg. GFDL documentation?
RFCs?
*cough* POSIX manpages?

Regards,

Joey
--
Testing? What's that? If it compiles, it is good, if it boots up, it is perfect.
Andrew Suffield
2004-03-03 06:58:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Andreas Tille
3. Do you think Debian should continue to support non-free?
No. Debian is about creating a operating system with free software,
and I don't think we should be in the business of distributing
non-free software. I think we should focus on what we do best (create
and integrate free software), and this would also get us closer to
other players in the community, such as the FSF.
Having said this, I don't think the current non-free removal vote is
being done correctly. If we decide to remove non-free, we have to
provide a good upgrade plan for our users. Thus, I think we should
*first* move non-free to something like non-free.org, encourage people
to use new APT sources list while at the same time supporting the old
APT lines (i.e. still keeping it on Debian mirrors) for a while.
I knew *somebody* was going to bite this one.

It has proven to be difficult to impossible to get people to do any
real work towards doing things in this "obvious" way.

Taken as a given that everybody either wants to keep non-free or to
remove it (near enough to accurate), I'll introduce this tautology:

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The work to provide an upgrade plan for non-free users must be
performed by either or both of these groups:

(a) Those who wish to see non-free removed
(b) Those who wish to see non-free kept

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Group (a) does not want to do this work because they want to have
nothing to do with non-free. Group (b) does not want to do this work
because they want non-free to be in Debian, not external to it.

(Again, imperfect characterisation, but close enough)

We find (found) ourselves at an impasse, where no actual work can get
done. The work of maintaining non-free outside of Debian *needs* to be
done by those who want to keep non-free in Debian. But they aren't
going to do it while non-free is in Debian.

My solution was a simple one. We decide to remove non-free, then
anybody who cares enough to keep it can arrange for it to be supported
outside of Debian, and then we remove it. The GR proposal was written
with this goal in mind. Note the absence of time constraints; these
are deliberate. It means precisely what it says, and it conspicuously
does not say "non-free shall immediately be removed from the Debian
archive". It was *very* carefully worded over a period of about two
weeks.

Once the people who want to maintain non-free have a reason to see it
done outside of Debian, I would be surprised if it took longer than a
week for servers to be procured and the basic
mail/accounts/keyring/BTS/archive stuff to be set up. Most of it
(everything but the archive) can be done in under a day, given the
hardware. That's assuming anybody really cares enough to do it - it's
possible that nobody does, and non-free will die (not implausible,
looking at the list of things still in non-free). In this scenario, it
deserves to die.

I do not believe it is realistic to expect any of this to happen
without a decision to remove non-free taking place. I do not believe
there is any way that people who would rather scrap non-free to see
that happen (even in the way you describe) other than voting for this
proposal, or waiting for all the packages in non-free to be removed
via attrition as they become unmaintained. I find nothing in the
proposal that conflicts with your desired sequence of events.

And I've said all this before.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
Anthony Towns
2004-03-03 07:51:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Andreas Tille
3. Do you think Debian should continue to support non-free?
Having said this, I don't think the current non-free removal vote is
being done correctly. If we decide to remove non-free, we have to
provide a good upgrade plan for our users. Thus, I think we should
*first* move non-free to something like non-free.org, [...]
It has proven to be difficult to impossible to get people to do any
real work towards doing things in this "obvious" way.
For reference, I have to agree with Andrew here. If no one's willing
to setup such an archive then it's not reasonable to delay the vote
until that changes. If someone were actively setting it up, it might
be sensible to delay the vote so we can see just how well (or badly)
it ends up working, but that's simply not the case.
Post by Andrew Suffield
Group (b) does not want to do this work
because they want non-free to be in Debian, not external to it.
For reference, I don't want to do that work because I think it's a waste
of time and effort to have a separate archive exclusively for non-free;
that no one who wants to drop non-free is willing to waste that effort
suggests to me (along with my own experience) that it's a *significant*
waste of effort, given that if it were insignificant, someone would've
already done it just to stop this complaint.

(Or was this tbm volunteering? ;)

Cheers,
aj
--
Anthony Towns <***@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we could.
http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004
Andrew Suffield
2004-03-03 19:26:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Towns
Post by Andrew Suffield
Group (b) does not want to do this work
because they want non-free to be in Debian, not external to it.
For reference, I don't want to do that work because I think it's a waste
of time and effort to have a separate archive exclusively for non-free;
that no one who wants to drop non-free is willing to waste that effort
suggests to me (along with my own experience) that it's a *significant*
waste of effort, given that if it were insignificant, someone would've
already done it just to stop this complaint.
It's certainly a significant waste of effort if you try to do it
without the cooperation of the maintainers of non-free packages. It's
probably also a significant effort to set up an external non-free
archive - but I don't think it's a large one. On the order of a few
man-days.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
Sven Luther
2004-03-03 08:44:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Andreas Tille
3. Do you think Debian should continue to support non-free?
No. Debian is about creating a operating system with free software,
and I don't think we should be in the business of distributing
non-free software. I think we should focus on what we do best (create
and integrate free software), and this would also get us closer to
other players in the community, such as the FSF.
Having said this, I don't think the current non-free removal vote is
being done correctly. If we decide to remove non-free, we have to
provide a good upgrade plan for our users. Thus, I think we should
*first* move non-free to something like non-free.org, encourage people
to use new APT sources list while at the same time supporting the old
APT lines (i.e. still keeping it on Debian mirrors) for a while.
I knew *somebody* was going to bite this one.
It has proven to be difficult to impossible to get people to do any
real work towards doing things in this "obvious" way.
Taken as a given that everybody either wants to keep non-free or to
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The work to provide an upgrade plan for non-free users must be
(a) Those who wish to see non-free removed
(b) Those who wish to see non-free kept
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Group (a) does not want to do this work because they want to have
nothing to do with non-free. Group (b) does not want to do this work
because they want non-free to be in Debian, not external to it.
Err, no, group (b) does not want to do this work, because it is not
worth the effort. I guess it is reasonable to expect that the work be
done by those advocating the change over those currently satisfied by
the status quo.

Friendly,

Sven Luther
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-03 16:39:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Martin Michlmayr
to use new APT sources list while at the same time supporting the old
APT lines (i.e. still keeping it on Debian mirrors) for a while.
I knew *somebody* was going to bite this one.
Yeah, and simply because having a clear transition plan is imho the
best solution if you want to have non-free removed.
Post by Andrew Suffield
It has proven to be difficult to impossible to get people to do any
real work towards doing things in this "obvious" way.
The work to provide an upgrade plan for non-free users must be
(a) Those who wish to see non-free removed
(b) Those who wish to see non-free kept
Group (a) does not want to do this work because they want to have
nothing to do with non-free. Group (b) does not want to do this work
because they want non-free to be in Debian, not external to it.
[...]
Post by Andrew Suffield
And I've said all this before.
I'm aware of the discussions, and the lack of volunteers for doing a
proper transition. However, I don't think the GR will be successful
without having a clear transition plan in mind, and in fact, I'd argue
the GR should only be done after a transition has been done already.
This is just me speaking as a random person, and not necessarily as
DPL or DPL candidate.

I have not yet come to a conclusion whether the DPL should take
position on the non-free question. You can argue in 2 ways. First,
you can argue that the DPL should represent all of Debian, and hence
not take a position on this matter. Second, you can argue that the
DPL should provide a clear vision for the project and removing
non-free could be seen as pushing the "free software" vision. As I
said, I have not come to a conclusion yet. (I should therefore also
mention that the "remove non-free: yes" answer I gave in another mail
was from my personal perspective, rather than speaking as DPL or DPL
candidate.)
Post by Andrew Suffield
(Or was this tbm volunteering? ;)
Maybe; I also might have some people in mind who could be interested.
But it's not on the top of my TODO list (either as DPL or as a normal
developer, see above). If the project as a whole agrees that having a
clear transition (moving non-free software to another machine, while
still mirroring it on debian.org mirrors for a year or two) would be a
good idea, I'll certainly put more time and energy into pursuing this.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Raul Miller
2004-03-03 17:09:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
We find (found) ourselves at an impasse, where no actual work can get
done. The work of maintaining non-free outside of Debian *needs* to be
done by those who want to keep non-free in Debian. But they aren't
going to do it while non-free is in Debian.
I understand that you feel like this situation with non-free is something
of a Gordian knot.

And, I understand that you feel that the vote itself will help us decide
what it is that we want to do.

Also, I think the fact that there is no rationale for your "drop
non-free" proposal says a bit more the real state of affairs. It may
be that any rationale would harm the chances that your proposal would
pass -- is that really the case? [If so, I'm even more dissapointed
that you haven't provided a rationale.]

However, if the point of this vote is "to decide what it is that we
want to do", then I think we'd be better served with a rationale for
your proposal.
--
Raul
Michael Banck
2004-03-03 17:18:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raul Miller
However, if the point of this vote is "to decide what it is that we
want to do", then I think we'd be better served with a rationale for
your proposal.
The rationale is so obvious to everybody supporting the resolution and
so incomprehensible to those opposing it that it is not worth the pain
to argue about it, IMHO.


Michael
--
Michael Banck
Debian Developer
***@debian.org
http://www.advogato.org/person/mbanck/diary.html
Raul Miller
2004-03-03 17:53:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Banck
The rationale is so obvious to everybody supporting the resolution and
so incomprehensible to those opposing it that it is not worth the pain
to argue about it, IMHO.
You're not describing a rationale, you're describing an article of faith.

A rationale involes an exposition of reasons.
--
Raul
Branden Robinson
2004-03-03 19:16:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Banck
Post by Raul Miller
However, if the point of this vote is "to decide what it is that we
want to do", then I think we'd be better served with a rationale for
your proposal.
The rationale is so obvious to everybody supporting the resolution and
so incomprehensible to those opposing it that it is not worth the pain
to argue about it, IMHO.
Heh.

"For those who understand, no explanation is necessary.
For those who do not, none is possible."

Our first Zen GR. I like it.
--
G. Branden Robinson | Life is what happens to you while
Debian GNU/Linux | you're busy making other plans.
***@debian.org | -- John Lennon
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |
Andrew Suffield
2004-03-03 19:21:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
Post by Michael Banck
Post by Raul Miller
However, if the point of this vote is "to decide what it is that we
want to do", then I think we'd be better served with a rationale for
your proposal.
The rationale is so obvious to everybody supporting the resolution and
so incomprehensible to those opposing it that it is not worth the pain
to argue about it, IMHO.
Heh.
"For those who understand, no explanation is necessary.
For those who do not, none is possible."
Our first Zen GR. I like it.
I would say it as:

"For those who understand, no explanation is necessary.
For those who do not, none is worthwhile."

I think it's not impossible that some (more) of the opponents could be
made to understand why people might disagree with them. But I can't
imagine any even theoretically possible scenarios where this would
change their opinion, so there's no point wasting the effort.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
Raul Miller
2004-03-03 19:41:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
"For those who understand, no explanation is necessary.
For those who do not, none is worthwhile."
I think it's not impossible that some (more) of the opponents could be
made to understand why people might disagree with them. But I can't
imagine any even theoretically possible scenarios where this would
change their opinion, so there's no point wasting the effort.
I would say it as:

"This isn't about reasons, it's about being unreasonable."
--
Raul
Anthony Towns
2004-03-04 04:23:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
I think it's not impossible that some (more) of the opponents could be
made to understand why people might disagree with them. But I can't
imagine any even theoretically possible scenarios where this would
change their opinion, so there's no point wasting the effort.
You're not trying to convince the people who've thought the issue through
and have decided you're wrong; you're trying to convince the people who
haven't thought it through, by providing interesting points and arguments
to help them think it through. The discussions on the lists are generally
not going to be with people who haven't thought things through yet,
but the point of them is so that you can see all the questions and ideas
that people could come up with, and provide responses to them.

IMO, YMMV, obviously.

Cheers,
aj
--
Anthony Towns <***@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we could.
http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004
Marc Haber
2004-03-03 08:37:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Andreas Tille
This starts with the fact that he is known to actively maintain a
quite long killfile
For personal mail - not for role accounts.
However, he is widely known to have a MTTA (medium time to answer)
highly dependent on the sender of a message to a role-account attended
by him, and it has been seriously suggested to use "mediators" in
communicating with him. Do the candidates see it as a problem to have
an individual that needs a "communication manual" in multiple very
very central roles in the project?

Greetings
Marc
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marc Haber | "I don't trust Computers. They | Mailadresse im Header
Karlsruhe, Germany | lose things." Winona Ryder | Fon: *49 721 966 32 15
Nordisch by Nature | How to make an American Quilt | Fax: *49 721 966 31 29
Michael Banck
2004-03-03 13:16:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marc Haber
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Andreas Tille
This starts with the fact that he is known to actively maintain a
quite long killfile
For personal mail - not for role accounts.
However, he is widely known to have a MTTA (medium time to answer)
highly dependent on the sender of a message to a role-account attended
by him,
How many role accounts are read exclusively by James and no one else?


Michael
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-03 14:20:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Banck
How many role accounts are read exclusively by James and no one else?
None.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Marc Haber
2004-03-03 13:56:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Banck
Post by Marc Haber
However, he is widely known to have a MTTA (medium time to answer)
highly dependent on the sender of a message to a role-account attended
by him,
How many role accounts are read exclusively by James and no one else?
The question should be, how many role accounts are acted on
exclusively by James.

Greetings
Marc
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marc Haber | "I don't trust Computers. They | Mailadresse im Header
Karlsruhe, Germany | lose things." Winona Ryder | Fon: *49 721 966 32 15
Nordisch by Nature | How to make an American Quilt | Fax: *49 721 966 31 29
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-03 15:54:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marc Haber
Post by Michael Banck
How many role accounts are read exclusively by James and no one else?
The question should be, how many role accounts are acted on
exclusively by James.
To some degree[1], two. Both have been working fine in the last six
months, though; and even though they have been working fine I am in
contact with James to see how more people can be added to these roles.

[1] I say "to some degree" because it's not clear what "are acted on
exclusively" means. As I said in another e-mail, there are no role
accounts where only James answers e-mails so in this sense stuff is
not acted upon exclusively by James. However, there are two (keyring,
DAM) where James makes the final decisions about things, so you could
see that as exclusive.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Gergely Nagy
2004-03-02 18:33:52 UTC
Permalink
Foreword: Do NOT take my answers seriously. I'm trying to make people
laugh.
Post by Andreas Tille
1. My concern is to propagate Custom Debian Distributions because
I think we should set a stronger focus to the end user. I see
Debian as a missing link between upstream developers and end
users and Custom Debian distributions are a good way to care for
end users.
What are your plans according to Custom Debian Distributions?
Easy one. As seen on debian-devel@ recently, Progeny (I think, correct
me if I'm wrong) has this Componentized Linux idea. Which is all nice
and good, and should help custom distros all right. So, the plans are
set straight already.

However, this would involve changing our release process, which
obviously involves the release manager, adding support for them into
dpkg and apt and possibly other tools. While the DPLs job is not to code
them, but management, my plan is to organise s3kr1t meetings with random
people, thus annoy the hell out of the people who should do the job, so
after a time, they get so upset, that they code the support in a day or
two, just to make my efforts worthless, and then point and laugh at me.
Post by Andreas Tille
2. Recently we had some flamewars about concentration of "power" for
some people inside Debian. While I'm much more relaxed than many
others and save my time for work instead of fighting flame wars
I have one certain question here. How do you see the role of
James Troup in the project?
James is a good guy, and he we should thank $DEITY we have him. We
should not say bad things about him, because he controls the black
halicopters, so shhh....
Post by Andreas Tille
While I think that he did a great job in terms of finding technical
solutions he absolutely fails in communication with people. This
starts with the fact that he is known to actively maintain a quite
long killfile (accompanied with the ability to ignore requests
of people) and ends with the inability to accept critics to his
person. While I have no personal problems to cope with those
people I noticed that this behaviour of a person who is doing
not only one important job for the project does harm to the Debian
project in general. I had several private discussions with
outsiders. For instance one opinion was that the persion would
not apply as New Maintainer as long as James Troup is ruling
Debian. (Please note: I do not think that James Troup is really
ruling Debian - I was just quoting.)
If that person does not have a skin hard enough to bear James, he
shouldn't come near Debian at all! There's MUCH worse than James
awaiting him... (just make him report an upstream bug against a random
gnome package maintained by Marillat)

Besides, James is nowhere near ruling Debian. My overweight tamagotchi
is, obviously.
Post by Andreas Tille
So what are your plans to enhance communication with people on
important positions in Debian and how do you think that important
jobs might be split onto different shoulders?
To enhance communication, especially between people who have problems
talking with each other, we should utilise proxy-persons, who receive
all their mails between the two problematic persons, and rewrod them in
a way so that it pleases the other one. This way, slowly they learn how
to co-operate well, and the proxy person can find another two victims.
Post by Andreas Tille
3. Do you think Debian should continue to support non-free?
No. Non-free should die a horrible death. If it were up to me, I'd
delete it even from the archives, and erase even the memory of it from
people's minds.
Post by Andreas Tille
A. Meta-question: Do you know that your jpb as a Debian leader has
the consequence to travel in several countries all over the world
which might lead to the situation that some countries handle you
like a criminal by taking your finger prints? I personally would
not like to be handled like a criminal and thus I did not accepted
the invitation to a conference in Texas.
I have no problems travelling around the world, provided I can sail in
my beloved ship, the Black Pearl.. Oh, and the countries I sail to must
accept, that I am the mighty pirate, Gergelybrush Nagywood, the one who
killed the ghost pirate LeSCO! Oh, fame and fortune, and the beatufil
caribbean!

Oops, sorry. Got carried away.

Since I'm still studying, and being a poor little hungarian student
(note to self: insert paypal account info here), I am unable to to
travel a lot. However, other countries are free to invide Hungary, and
bring all the conferences here so I can attend.
Post by Andreas Tille
Thanks for supporting Debian by volunteering for leadership
If my nomination is to be considered worthy support for Debian, we are
in reeeeeeeal touble! >;)
--
Gergelybrush Nagywood
David N. Welton
2004-03-02 19:47:35 UTC
Permalink
correct me if I'm wrong) has this Componentized Linux idea. Which is
all nice and good, and should help custom distros all right. So, the
plans are set straight already.
I saw Ian's online journal as linked by LWN, but can anyone point me
to something more specific? It sounds very vaporwareish to me, but
maybe there is some substance to it that I'm missing. Links to -devel
discussions are ok.

Thanks,
--
David N. Welton
Consulting: http://www.dedasys.com/
Personal: http://www.dedasys.com/davidw/
Free Software: http://www.dedasys.com/freesoftware/
Apache Tcl: http://tcl.apache.org/
Branden Robinson
2004-03-03 07:08:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by David N. Welton
correct me if I'm wrong) has this Componentized Linux idea. Which is
all nice and good, and should help custom distros all right. So, the
plans are set straight already.
I saw Ian's online journal as linked by LWN, but can anyone point me
to something more specific? It sounds very vaporwareish to me, but
maybe there is some substance to it that I'm missing. Links to -devel
discussions are ok.
Does this help?:

http://platform.progeny.com/componentized-linux/
--
G. Branden Robinson | The noble soul has reverence for
Debian GNU/Linux | itself.
***@debian.org | -- Friedrich Nietzsche
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |
Martin Schulze
2004-03-03 07:13:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by David N. Welton
correct me if I'm wrong) has this Componentized Linux idea. Which is
all nice and good, and should help custom distros all right. So, the
plans are set straight already.
I saw Ian's online journal as linked by LWN, but can anyone point me
to something more specific? It sounds very vaporwareish to me, but
maybe there is some substance to it that I'm missing. Links to -devel
discussions are ok.
Matt Black added <http://platform.progeny.com/componentized-linux/> to
DWN which seems to contain more information. Here's Ians weblog:
<http://platform.progeny.com/weblogs/000005.html>

Regards,

Joey
--
Testing? What's that? If it compiles, it is good, if it boots up, it is perfect.
Branden Robinson
2004-03-03 06:57:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andreas Tille
1. My concern is to propagate Custom Debian Distributions because
I think we should set a stronger focus to the end user. I see
Debian as a missing link between upstream developers and end
users and Custom Debian distributions are a good way to care for
end users.
I strongly agree with your premise.

In my view, trying to make Debian main all things to all people is to
misunderstand the "universal OS" goal. It's awfully damn hard to be all
things to all people, after all.

Instead, I see Debian operating systems as being fully-capable platforms
that can *also* serve as a foundation for more specific tasks.
Post by Andreas Tille
What are your plans according to Custom Debian Distributions?
I guess I'd have to defer to the Hippocratic Oath:

"First of all, do no harm."

Custom distributions can (and probably will) grow in all sorts of
directions whether we want them to or not. But we'll all be better off
if we encourage diversity and appreciate their power to bring Debian to
new audiences.

Furthermore, if we want to take a selfish tack for a moment, if we
maintain a high level of cooperation with custom distos based on Debian,
they're more likely to listen to us when we ask something of them. I'm
think mostly of technical issues here, but the principle could be
applied more broadly.
Post by Andreas Tille
2. Recently we had some flamewars about concentration of "power" for
some people inside Debian. While I'm much more relaxed than many
others and save my time for work instead of fighting flame wars
I have one certain question here. How do you see the role of
James Troup in the project?
I'm not sure I can give you the kind of answer you're looking for.

If elected DPL, I would promptly get in touch with every member of our
core infrastructure team.

The first questions I'd ask of any of these people would be:

1) What can I do to help you do your job better?
2) What do you perceive your role in the project to be?

The next thing I'd do would be to communicate the answers I received to
the rest of the project (except for anything that was expressed to me in
confidence, of course). It blows my mind that no previous DPL has done
this.

In the unlikely event that a person in the project absolutely refused to
deal with me as DPL, then I would communicate that fact to the
developers as well. But to be honest I don't think there's anyone in
the project who would do this. If there is, I don't think I've met or
corresponded with them yet. There are few people on our organization
list[1] and there are very few I can't recall having communicated with
in the past. Of the ones I can't recall having communicated with, none
of them has ever been the subject of a flamewar, to my knowledge. :)
Post by Andreas Tille
While I think that he did a great job in terms of finding technical
solutions he absolutely fails in communication with people.
This is too broad a statement. I've communicated perfectly cordially
and efficiently with James many times. So have many others. Anyone who
posits that Debian has a "cabal" probably would say James is in it, and
they'd have to grant that he must communicate successfully with the
other members of that august body -- unless there are exciting tales of
schism and betrayal within the cabal that we mere mortals have not been
privy to. :)

On a more serious note, it's safe to say that there are certainly people
who have had trouble communicating with James in the past. There have
been people who had trouble communicating with Martin Michlmayr, too.
There have been people who had trouble communicating with me.

Some of the criticism of James -- and other people with special
responsibilities in the project -- that I have seen, from my
non-omniscient viewpoint, *has* been misinformed. In large That's what
the first two parts of each of the "Why I Am Running" and "What I Will
Do" sections of my platform are designed to address.

I want to break this zero-sum-game mindset where people are locked in
battle with each other, and develop alternative mechanisms for resolving
these issues.
Post by Andreas Tille
This starts with the fact that he is known to actively maintain a
quite long killfile (accompanied with the ability to ignore
requests of people)
Two points here:

1) anybody in Debian can ignore pretty much any request from anyone, and
the Constitution[2] explicitly authorizes us to do so
2) I can't blame a person for killfiling someone, if a person mailing
them is good at pushing a person's buttons. It's emotionally
draining to have to defend yourself all the time.

Where 2) becomes a problem is when private mail is the preferred means
of communicating with someone in their official capacity.

As DPL, I'd like to fix that. I think we should decouple people's
personal mail addresses from their roles just as machines are[3].

That, of course, does mean that we need teams for just about everything
of importance, but is that really so bad in a volunteer project (in
practice, we already *do* have teams for practically everything
important anyway)?
Post by Andreas Tille
and ends with the inability to accept critics to his person.
This is an overreaching statement. How can you know whether or not he
accepts criticism? That he reacts to it (or not), doesn't tell you what
he does with it internally.

I think it is polite, to say nothing of expedient, to refrain from
speculating as to the psychological processes of our fellow developers
except as a last resort.
Post by Andreas Tille
While I have no personal problems to cope with those people I
noticed that this behaviour of a person who is doing not only one
important job for the project does harm to the Debian project in
general. I had several private discussions with outsiders. For
instance one opinion was that the persion would not apply as New
Maintainer as long as James Troup is ruling Debian. (Please
note: I do not think that James Troup is really ruling Debian - I
was just quoting.)
You're making pretty strong statements for someone who claims to have
not been personally mistreated by James. It's fine to be an advocate
for people who do feel that way, but I think such advocacy needs to
stick to objectively demonstrable facts.
Post by Andreas Tille
So what are your plans to enhance communication with people on
important positions in Debian and how do you think that important
jobs might be split onto different shoulders?
I'm going to refer to my answer to question 2) above, and to my
platform[4] to answer this question.
Post by Andreas Tille
3. Do you think Debian should continue to support non-free?
I think Debian should do what the Developers resolve to do regarding
this issue. It is far too divisive and contentious a matter for a DPL
to decide by decree.

Since I suspect you're expecting a personal statement, I'll say this:

In the forthcoming vote, I expect to vote in favor of removing non-free
from our distribution. The ballot returns will be public in hat vote,
as they are in every GR vote except for Project Leader elections, and I
will be very curious to see the results.
Post by Andreas Tille
4. Does your normal live allow sparsing time for Debian leadership
which seems to include much additional work (perhaps you will not
be able to continue on working on your packages) and does your
current employer accept your intention.
In order to accept the added responsibilities of Project Leader, I have
resigned as SPI Treasurer and, as I stated in my Platform, am
transitioning Debian XFree86 package maintenance to a team-oriented
effort. As a matter of fact, the latest upload to unstable (4.3.0-3)
was built not by me, but by Joshua Kwan, who stepped in because my home
workstation was experiencing memory problems.

My employer's pretty used to the thought of me as Debian Project Leader,
since I've run for the position every year I've been employed by
Progeny[5]. :) I understand that there is a standardized document for
employers to sign that states their recognizition that an employee DPL
must be able to act independently. I don't anticipate having any
problems getting my immediate supervisor to sign it. I can walk over to
the CEO's office to get it signed as well (Progeny is a small company),
and ask Ian Murdock if he'd like to chip in for good measure, too.

In short, I am not at all concerned about my employer bringing undue
pressure on me in an effort to influence the Debian Project.
Post by Andreas Tille
A. Meta-question: Do you know that your jpb as a Debian leader has
the consequence to travel in several countries all over the world
which might lead to the situation that some countries handle you
like a criminal by taking your finger prints? I personally would
not like to be handled like a criminal and thus I did not accepted
the invitation to a conference in Texas.
I'd been meaning to raise this issue:

Do any of our Brazilian developers raising this think it would be
possible to petition the Brazilian government for a waiver of the
"fingerprint all U.S. citizens" policy as applied to Debian Developers
for the Debconf 4 event? I realize it may sound audacious, but I don't
see any harm in it. Debian and Free Software in general have done a lot
for Brazil (a lot for the U.S., too, but the Microsoft- and Oracle-
owned press wouldn't dare let you know it) and who knows, it might work.

Especially if we get some press about it, which would do us some good
even if it didn't work.

I am deeply uncomfortable with being fingerprinted and otherwise
bio-catalogged, but if that is what it takes to carry the Debian message
around the world and serve this Project, then I will accept it.

I am apprehensive about injecting real-world political opinions into
this particular discussion, so if you'd really like to know what I think
of the present U.S. administration, please ask in another forum.

[1] http://www.debian.org/intro/organization
[2] http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution
[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2004/debian-devel-announce-200401/msg00011.html
[4] http://people.debian.org/~branden/dpl/campaign/2004/platform.xhtml#s3p2
[5] http://www.progeny.com/
--
G. Branden Robinson | Convictions are more dangerous
Debian GNU/Linux | enemies of truth than lies.
***@debian.org | -- Friedrich Nietzsche
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |
Andreas Tille
2004-03-03 08:37:25 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 3 Mar 2004, Branden Robinson wrote

[ Sorry if I do not answer right inside the thread but the "Reply to"
links in the webform do not work as expected and I did not subscribed
to the list. Please CC me, if you want to avoid this.]
Post by Branden Robinson
I'm not sure I can give you the kind of answer you're looking for.
Why do you expect me to look for a certain answer. I just had the feeling
that some things should be discussed. According to my point of view asking
questions is no expression of critics.
Post by Branden Robinson
Post by Andreas Tille
While I think that he did a great job in terms of finding technical
solutions he absolutely fails in communication with people.
This is too broad a statement.
You are right here (as well as tbm) and I would like to correct my wording
to "he often fails in communication with a certain (and quite large) group
of people". Sorry for the shortcut.
If you ask me if it is more important to get work done or to leave work undone
while working on communications skills I'd prefer the first. So I have no
personal problems here which you might suspect when writing the first
sentence I quotet from your mail.
But Debien Leadership is no concern of personal feelings but representation
to outsiders. I just wanted to make sure that the future DPL is able to
explain things to outsiders the correct way. I just asked this question
in reflection to some private mails I've got (and which point I do not really
share).
Post by Branden Robinson
On a more serious note, it's safe to say that there are certainly people
who have had trouble communicating with James in the past. There have
been people who had trouble communicating with Martin Michlmayr, too.
There have been people who had trouble communicating with me.
It's hard to live in a real world. ;-)
Post by Branden Robinson
Post by Andreas Tille
and ends with the inability to accept critics to his person.
This is an overreaching statement. How can you know whether or not he
accepts criticism? That he reacts to it (or not), doesn't tell you what
he does with it internally.
There is no open archive of debian-private but I have some mails stored
in my private archive which leaded to this conclusion IMHO. Again - I
have no personal problem with this as long as work is done fine - but the
DPL might have to face this situation.
Post by Branden Robinson
I think it is polite, to say nothing of expedient, to refrain from
speculating as to the psychological processes of our fellow developers
except as a last resort.
But I might have been tricked out by the fact that psychological analysis
can't hardly done by e-mail conversation and thus my assumption might be
wrong here.
Post by Branden Robinson
You're making pretty strong statements for someone who claims to have
not been personally mistreated by James. It's fine to be an advocate
for people who do feel that way, but I think such advocacy needs to
stick to objectively demonstrable facts.
I pointed the person in question to this URL in the archive. He might
comment on. I will not quote debian-private mails in public and so I
can not demonstrate here what leaded me to the statements I did.
Post by Branden Robinson
I am apprehensive about injecting real-world political opinions into
this particular discussion, so if you'd really like to know what I think
of the present U.S. administration, please ask in another forum.
I did not want to inject real-world politics here. I know you from Oslo
and I have no need to ask about your political opinion. I just wanted
to know if the future DPL leader would have problems to travel to one or
the other country which might be a constraint to his Debian related
work.

Kind regards

Andreas.
Michael Banck
2004-03-03 13:22:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andreas Tille
[ Sorry if I do not answer right inside the thread but the "Reply to"
links in the webform do not work as expected and I did not subscribed
to the list. Please CC me, if you want to avoid this.]
I usually log into master and bounce me the mails from
/org/lists.debian.org/lists/debian-foo/2004/foo in order to answer
them properly.


Michael
Pascal Hakim
2004-03-03 13:36:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Banck
Post by Andreas Tille
[ Sorry if I do not answer right inside the thread but the "Reply to"
links in the webform do not work as expected and I did not subscribed
to the list. Please CC me, if you want to avoid this.]
I usually log into master and bounce me the mails from
/org/lists.debian.org/lists/debian-foo/2004/foo in order to answer
them properly.
If you're going to do that, you might as well go into master:~debian, which
has also has copies of some lists which aren't archived on the web, such as
debian-private.

Cheers,

Pasc
--
Pascal Hakim +61 4 0341 1672
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-03 16:16:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andreas Tille
There is no open archive of debian-private but I have some mails
stored in my private archive which leaded to this conclusion IMHO.
Again - I have no personal problem with this as long as work is done
fine - but the DPL might have to face this situation.
As I stated in my platform, one of my advantages is that I know lots
of people in the project on a personal basis and get along just fine
with them. This makes it much easier to approach them and to put
forwards (constructive) criticism.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Branden Robinson
2004-03-03 19:27:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andreas Tille
[ Sorry if I do not answer right inside the thread but the "Reply to"
links in the webform do not work as expected and I did not subscribed
to the list. Please CC me, if you want to avoid this.]
Post by Branden Robinson
I'm not sure I can give you the kind of answer you're looking for.
Why do you expect me to look for a certain answer. I just had the feeling
that some things should be discussed. According to my point of view asking
questions is no expression of critics.
Okay. Some people ask questions with the aim of promoting discussion;
others ask questions because they want to draw people out about specific
things.

I try to answer both types of questions as best I can. Sorry for any
confusion.
Post by Andreas Tille
But Debien Leadership is no concern of personal feelings but representation
to outsiders.
I think it's both. A DPL who is completely indifferent to the personal
feelings of those he leads is probably not going to be successful.

I agree that representation to outsiders is important. I think it's
important that our Constitution, and our description of our
organization, be accurate; not some window dressing we throw up and
which isn't the way Debian really works.
Post by Andreas Tille
I just wanted to make sure that the future DPL is able to explain
things to outsiders the correct way.
I agree. I think the most efficient way to do this is to ensure that we
live up to the standards we have set for ourselves in our governing
documents; and if that is not possible or we've found it to be the
unwise course, we should amend those governing documents to reflect the
facts.
Post by Andreas Tille
Post by Branden Robinson
This is an overreaching statement. How can you know whether or not he
accepts criticism? That he reacts to it (or not), doesn't tell you what
he does with it internally.
There is no open archive of debian-private but I have some mails stored
in my private archive which leaded to this conclusion IMHO.
I'm not sure it's fruitful to ground public conclusions (on -vote) on
premises that have to remain private. If nothing else, it leaves
non-Debian-Developers following our election process almost completely
in the dark.

Moreover, there are many Debian developers who are not subscribed to
debian-private.
Post by Andreas Tille
Again - I have no personal problem with this as long as work is done
fine - but the DPL might have to face this situation.
I agree. The DPL has to be prepared to cope with grievances against
delegates, or people functioning pretty much as delegates were intended
to.
Post by Andreas Tille
Post by Branden Robinson
You're making pretty strong statements for someone who claims to have
not been personally mistreated by James. It's fine to be an advocate
for people who do feel that way, but I think such advocacy needs to
stick to objectively demonstrable facts.
I pointed the person in question to this URL in the archive. He might
comment on. I will not quote debian-private mails in public and so I
can not demonstrate here what leaded me to the statements I did.
I think we should try to conduct the DPL campaign openly, and if there
are certain highly-sensitive issues that can't be discussed on an open
list, we're simply going to have to find a way to frame them that makes
sense to outsiders, or even eligible voters who don't follow every
flamewar over personnel issues closely.

To that end, I suggest that it is best if we do not personalize the DPL
campaign. I'm not sure it is wise or fair to use one of our membership
as a symbol.
Post by Andreas Tille
I did not want to inject real-world politics here. I know you from Oslo
and I have no need to ask about your political opinion. I just wanted
to know if the future DPL leader would have problems to travel to one or
the other country which might be a constraint to his Debian related
work.
No problem; I hope my answer elucidated this point. If not, please
explain its deficiencies to me and I will try again. :)
--
G. Branden Robinson | Any man who does not realize that
Debian GNU/Linux | he is half an animal is only half a
***@debian.org | man.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | -- Thornton Wilder
Branden Robinson
2004-03-04 11:25:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
I'm not sure it's fruitful to ground public conclusions (on -vote) on
premises that have to remain private. If nothing else, it leaves
non-Debian-Developers following our election process almost completely
in the dark.
Moreover, there are many Debian developers who are not subscribed to
debian-private.
Pascal Hakim, one of our list admins, told me on IRC that -private has
about 844 subscribers, and according to the Secretary's vote page for
this election[1], we have 908 developers.

"Many" can be a slippery qualifier, but I admit the proportion of
subscribers is far higher than I expected. I thought something like 1/2
to 2/3rds of our developers were subscribed. I must have given too much
weight to the people who have periodcally trumpeted that they'll
unsubscribe from -private if the off-topic stuff isn't kept to a
minimum. :)

Anyway, this figure is worth reporting if anyone wants to start a
discussion of sensitive matters germane to the campaign. -private would
be the place to do it.

[1] http://www.debian.org/vote/2004/vote_001
--
G. Branden Robinson | I must despise the world which does
Debian GNU/Linux | not know that music is a higher
***@debian.org | revelation than all wisdom and
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | philosophy. -- Ludwig van Beethoven
Steve Langasek
2004-03-03 16:35:01 UTC
Permalink
Two questions.


Question 1, to Branden and Martin:

Reading over your platforms, I notice that they are very similar. I
don't think this is a bad thing; I happen to agree quite strongly with
both of your assessments of productive roles the DPL can play in our
community. Unfortunately, this means I find it difficult to rate one of
you over the other as candidates. In your opinion, what are the factors
that differentiate you from the other as a candidate, either in terms of
your platform or of your abilities to achieve the stated goals? What do
you each believe are your *weaknesses* compared to the other candidate?


Question 2, to Gergely:

Your platform clearly shows your creativity and sense of humor, two
traits I believe are important for someone called to be a problem-solver
for the project. Why should I be dissuaded by threats of
tamagotchi-sitting when there's an ocean between me and it?
--
Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer
Gergely Nagy
2004-03-03 17:46:01 UTC
Permalink
/me gets hissy and sad and stuff for being discriminated from a
question, and goes to his mommy to cry a little *weep-weep*
Post by Steve Langasek
Your platform clearly shows your creativity and sense of humor, two
traits I believe are important for someone called to be a problem-solver
for the project. Why should I be dissuaded by threats of
tamagotchi-sitting when there's an ocean between me and it?
You don't know my tamagtochi. He is so big, that if he jumps, the earth
will shake, and the ocean will go up high in the sky (maybe so high that
it leaves the athmosphere and we'll have a nice ice-ring, wooo!), then
fall down and in a big splash, destroy all continents. Fortunately, he
can control himself, and can jump only a little.. Besides, being an
imaginary creature (in a sense, at least), he can do such evil stuff as
appearing in your dream and sitting on you while you sleep. From the
`Nightmare on Elm Street', we know this can be quite painful, if one
can't fully control his dreams.

I'd better be careful before underestimating the power of Yamm!
--
Gergely Nagy
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-05 05:18:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Langasek
Reading over your platforms, I notice that they are very similar. I
don't think this is a bad thing; I happen to agree quite strongly
with both of your assessments of productive roles the DPL can play
in our community.
I think recent discussions have clearly shown the issues which have to
be addressed in the next term. I am therefore not surprised that our
platforms overlap to some extent. The question is really: who is best
personality to address these issues? As I've argued in my platform, I
think I am best suited to approach the current issues and to lead
Debian. I think it is quite telling that I have a section about "My
Skills and Personality" in my platform whereas Branden's platform
gives less attention to this.
Post by Steve Langasek
Unfortunately, this means I find it difficult to rate one of you
over the other as candidates. In your opinion, what are the factors
that differentiate you from the other as a candidate, either in
terms of your platform or of your abilities to achieve the stated
goals?
I have better social and people skills, and it is much easier to
approach and interact with me. I think these are very important
features because the project leader role is all about staying in
contact with other people, talking to them, listening to them and
representing them.

If you want to fix a problem, you have to understand it first. I know
many people in core teams, know how those teams work and can therefore
approach problems much better. I also know a lot of people on a
personal basis, and are friends with them. As a matter of fact, I
spent this evening in a pub with James Troup, Colin Watson and Daniel
Silverstone. All of them are good friends of mine, and we spent the
evening discussing various Debian issues, and also simply having a lot
of fun! (I actually started writing a TODO list in the pub so things
we have discussed are not forgotten about.) I care about lots of
people in the project on a personal basis, not just on a
project-related one.

Also, I think my approach to tackle issues works better. My approach
is very soft, very evolutionary. I first make a clear picture of the
whole situation. Talk to various people, on all sides. I work with
people to see how they can get be helped, what they need, etc. I
would not simply replace someone against their wish unless this is
necessary, but I'd work with them, to find a solution which works for
them and for others. This approach works very well, but sometimes
takes time. Also, the activities are usually in the background, and
others might not immediately be aware that progress is being made. In
my opinion, Branden takes a more revolutionary approach. Things have
to change, and they have to change NOW. In my opinion, such as an
approach usually does not work, especially if you do not work together
with the people who are affected.

Finally, my approach is more pragmatic, and I think this produces much
more solutions. While I agree with Branden that attention has to be
given to the Constitution, he makes the impression that he cannot do
anything without the Constitution and the authority granted through
it. This is in contrast in how I perceive the project. In his past
platforms and campaigns, he suggested becoming DPL would give him the
authority to do something about inactive maintainers, to introduce an
emeritus class, and this year to improve New Maintainer. While
Branden was asking for authority to do all of this, I simply went
ahead and approached the problem of inactive maintainers and
introduced system tracking of them, helped separating emeritus people
(together with James Troup) and significantly improved New Maintainer,
as you can see in an independent analysis:
http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2004/debian-devel-200402/msg01698.html
Post by Steve Langasek
What do you each believe are your *weaknesses* compared to the other
candidate?
As I said above, my approach is very gentle. I think it's an
advantage rather than a weaknesses, but some people are looking for a
big, strong, vocal person to fix all problems Debian currently has.
Of course, things don't work this way; problems can only be fixed by
working with people, something I'm really good at.

One weaknesses is related to me mostly caring about _fixing things_,
and this is often achieved "magically" in the background without
people perceiving my involvement. For example, even though New
Maintainer would suffer immensely if I stopped my work on it, most
applicants are probably not aware of my involvement in NM at all. In
the case of being DPL, there is an amazing number of day-to-day work
which has to be done, but it's not worth talking about because each of
the issue on its own is very small. However, if they were not dealt
with on a daily basis, major problems would soon result.

So one weakness is that I am not vocal enough about the work I do. I
try to provide status reports, such as the report listing what I have
been up to in the first 6 months of being DPL. However, at the end of
the day, I'm more concerned with fixing things rather than telling
people about all the great things I've done. (Having said that, I am
for full disclosure and transparency, and always answer people's
question. If you look at -devel archives, you'll see that even a NM
applicant who has been rejected said that I always dealt with him in
an open and fair way, and that he'd elect me as DPL (a shame that he
cannot vote, really ;), but the rejection was for the benefit of the
project as a whole)).
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Branden Robinson
2004-03-09 05:57:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Langasek
Reading over your platforms, I notice that they are very similar. I
don't think this is a bad thing; I happen to agree quite strongly with
both of your assessments of productive roles the DPL can play in our
community. Unfortunately, this means I find it difficult to rate one of
you over the other as candidates. In your opinion, what are the factors
that differentiate you from the other as a candidate, either in terms of
your platform or of your abilities to achieve the stated goals?
Martin's platform covers a lot of material that was in his platform from
last year covered, as does mine.

In fact, Martin criticized me last year for not having novel ideas:

I didn't see many new thoughts in Branden's platform that were not
discussed in previous years.[1]

Note that he didn't say he thought they were bad ideas; instead he
asserted that I would be ineffective at achieving them.

The best way to evaluate any incumbent in an election is simply by
looking at his or her record, so I'll ask some questions of the voters
that are generally applicable the situation.

The incumbent has had a year to prove his effectiveness. Has he
delivered on his promises? Has he been the kind of leader you expected
him to be based on his platform? Is it clear to you that he is more
effective than the other candidates last year?

What do you think the project would look like today if Bdale has been
re-elected? What do you think the project would look like today if I
had been elected? Would we be better or worse off?

Last year, Martin criticized Moshe Zadka for intending to not do
anything at all:

Unfortunately, with this attitude, we would not go anywhere. If
everyone thought they would not have to do a specific task because
someone else might do it, then things will never get done.[1]

In your opinion, to what extent has Martin differentiated himself from a
candidate who proclaimed he would do nothing at all? Have the things
Martin claims credit for been the direct result of his leadership, or
would they have happened anyway?

Last year, Martin criticized Bdale Garbee for emphasizing communication,
yet not practicing enough of it:

I found it interesting that Bdale speaks of communication in his
platform because lack of communication and visibility in the project
is the reason of my disappointment. While I have heard that Bdale has
done a huge amount of communication behind the scenes which was very
important in getting things (such as keyring) fixed, I personally felt
that the community at large was not well informed at all of what was
going on.[1]

How has Martin improved on this standard? His platform for this year
emphasizes coordination, motivation, and leadership. He has spoken at
length on this list about the private communications he has engaged in
have helped get things done, for instance with the resolution of the FDL
issue with the Free Software Foundation.

Lest these questions seem harsh, let me say now that if I am elected, I
fully expect to be judged by them in a year's time. In fact, any
incumbent DPL would do well to self-challenge in exactly this manner
when writing a platform for their re-election.

In summary, the biggest difference between Martin and me is that he has
had a year to demonstrate his efficacy as DPL. Whether you think this
is a strength or a weakness for him would, I imagine, play a pretty
significant role in your vote.
Post by Steve Langasek
What do you each believe are your *weaknesses* compared to the other
candidate?
My biggest weakness is that I am often tried in absentia for being an
outspoken person. In many situations, I don't hesitate to let someone
know if I disagree with them, and in years past, I was colorful in the
way I did it. My outspokenness has caused me to accrete some mythology
about my personality, not all of it flattering.

I've come to appreciate that this perception is largely beyond my
control, however. In personal and email conversations, I've been told
with increasing frequency over the years that I'm not the firebrand I
was when I first joined the project. This maturation of my approach,
however, is sometimes tempting or convenient to ignore, as Martin has
done by characterizing me as lacking "people and social skills". People
who have met me at conferences such as LinuxWorld and DebConf appear to
find me quite approachable; I've made a lot of new friends at these
events, especially among people who aren't very active on our mailing
lists or in channels I frequent on IRC, and cemented friendships with
many of those who do.

In all sincerity, I don't think there's a whole lot to this criticism
anymore. People who've watched my work as SPI Treasurer, on
debian-legal, and on debian-x, among other lists, know that I'm a
controlled and deliberate person (even in the presence of some
occasional hard-core baiting :) ). My employer trusts me to reflect the
company well, both in my capacity as an employee and as a Debian
developer. I'm considered an asset, not just for my skills, but for my
personality.

I'm not running against my perceptions of Martin Michlmayr in 1998; I
think it's only fair if he would do me the courtesy of offering
compelling reasons he is preferable to Branden Robinson in 2004, not
Branden Robinson in 1998.

[1] http://www.debian.org/vote/2003/platforms/tbm
--
G. Branden Robinson | When I die I want to go peacefully
Debian GNU/Linux | in my sleep like my ol' Grand
***@debian.org | Dad...not screaming in terror like
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | his passengers.
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-11 18:10:28 UTC
Permalink
[..]
Post by Branden Robinson
Note that he didn't say he thought they were bad ideas; instead he
asserted that I would be ineffective at achieving them.
Yes, and I still assert the same. As I said in my response, this
year's election is not necessarily about "novel ideas" because it's
pretty clear what needs to be done - instead, it's really about good,
efficient solutions. The question is which candidate can implement
those changes in a more efficient manner. As I argued, I think I've
demonstrated that I can work with the members of Debian to implement
important changes. I certainly hope that people will ask themselves
whether I have been productive as DPL. The following questions you
raised are all valid, and they are questions I have constantly asked
myself throughout the year in order to measure my performance.
Post by Branden Robinson
The best way to evaluate any incumbent in an election is simply by
looking at his or her record, so I'll ask some questions of the
voters that are generally applicable the situation.
The incumbent has had a year to prove his effectiveness. Has he
delivered on his promises? Has he been the kind of leader you
expected him to be based on his platform? Is it clear to you that
he is more effective than the other candidates last year?
[...]
Post by Branden Robinson
In summary, the biggest difference between Martin and me is that he
has had a year to demonstrate his efficacy as DPL.
I would go a step further and also ask how much Branden has achieved
of what he wrote in his platforms in the last years, and how much of
this has been done by others in the meantime (not necessarily DPLs).
Post by Branden Robinson
I'm not running against my perceptions of Martin Michlmayr in 1998; I
think it's only fair if he would do me the courtesy of offering
compelling reasons he is preferable to Branden Robinson in 2004, not
Branden Robinson in 1998.
My comments were about Branden Robinson in 2004, not the one in 1998.
I fully acknowledge that, for example, your communication has
significantly improved over the years. Most of my arguments, however,
are about personality; that is, skills which are hard to acquire. In
my own case, I know that I'm a good coordinator by nature.

Furthermore, partly in line with AJ said, while your communication has
significantly improved, I wonder why it had to improve in the first
place? I have never been known for flamewars, and most people know me
as approachable, and know that I have always been this way.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Raul Miller
2004-03-11 18:52:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Furthermore, partly in line with AJ said, while your communication has
significantly improved, I wonder why it had to improve in the first
place? I have never been known for flamewars, and most people know me
as approachable, and know that I have always been this way.
I don't think that's a relevant question.

Relevant points include:

[*] Your own lack of flamage (I'll take your word on that), and
approachability.

[*] Branden's current approach to issues -- especially DPL-ish isssues.
I imagine his approachability is also relevant.

But, even more important than individual interactions is energy and drive.

That's what I'm still trying to figure out about the both of you.

Thanks,
--
Raul
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-11 20:05:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raul Miller
But, even more important than individual interactions is energy and drive.
That's what I'm still trying to figure out about the both of you.
I can only invite you to look at the work I've done for Debian over
the last years. You'll see a high level of commitment and energy.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Raul Miller
2004-03-11 20:49:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
I can only invite you to look at the work I've done for Debian over
the last years. You'll see a high level of commitment and energy.
I don't doubt that -- I'm definitely ranking you above the default option.

But, I still have to make up my mind about how I'm ranking you
vs. Branden. [And, I can't promise I'll make that decision based on
perfect information.]

Thanks,
--
Raul
Branden Robinson
2004-03-12 18:39:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Raul Miller
But, even more important than individual interactions is energy and drive.
That's what I'm still trying to figure out about the both of you.
I can only invite you to look at the work I've done for Debian over
the last years. You'll see a high level of commitment and energy.
Do you feel that isn't true of either or both of your opponents in this
election?
--
G. Branden Robinson |
Debian GNU/Linux | Please do not look directly into
***@debian.org | laser with remaining eye.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-20 00:35:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Raul Miller
But, even more important than individual interactions is energy and drive.
I can only invite you to look at the work I've done for Debian over
the last years. You'll see a high level of commitment and energy.
Do you feel that isn't true of either or both of your opponents in this
election?
Gergely is unfortunately not as involved in Debian anymore as he used
to be (I think his girlfriend is a large distraction ;), but he's
still contributing important work, such as dpatch, which I use myself.
You (Branden) are certainly very enthusiastic as well, as for example
seen by your -legal mails; I never disputed this.

Since you asked, let me raise a concern, though. I am wondering if
you have enough time to act as DPL. In fact, your presentation of the
situation does not correspond to the impression I have. In
http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/debian-vote-200403/msg00052.html
you said that, "In order to accept the added responsibilities of
Project Leader, I have resigned as SPI Treasurer". As DPL, I tried to
get you as SPI Treasurer reimburse various Debian people for months,
without any success. Also, someone mailed ***@spi-inc.org,
***@spi-inc.org and ***@debian.org recently, asking why their
"significant contribution to support Debian" has not been accepted and
why they had not received their acknowledgment letter yet (needed for
tax purposes). From my experience, you have neglected the Treasurer
role for months, rather than given it up to make more time in case you
get elected as DPL.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Branden Robinson
2004-03-19 23:06:27 UTC
Permalink
[...]
I certainly hope that people will ask themselves whether I have been
productive as DPL. The following questions you raised are all valid,
and they are questions I have constantly asked myself throughout the
year in order to measure my performance.
Okay. What were your answers?
Post by Branden Robinson
In summary, the biggest difference between Martin and me is that he
has had a year to demonstrate his efficacy as DPL.
I would go a step further and also ask how much Branden has achieved
of what he wrote in his platforms in the last years, and how much of
this has been done by others in the meantime (not necessarily DPLs).
Rather than doing things which might be perceived as undermining your
authority, or paying disrespect to the will of the electorate (despite
the very close results), I decided to engage in a practical
demonstration of how I would achieve greater openness, communication,
and collaboration, by first applying these principles to my own work in
maintaining XFree86 for Debian.

I suspect the significance of this action was not at all lost on you,
since without the benefit of having seen my platform, you wasted no time
in your own dismissing this work as completely irrelevant:

Coordinating a project the size of Debian requires a very different set
of skills than maintaining a large package, such as glibc.[1]

...or XFree86, the reader is surely invited to infer.
Post by Branden Robinson
I'm not running against my perceptions of Martin Michlmayr in 1998; I
think it's only fair if he would do me the courtesy of offering
compelling reasons he is preferable to Branden Robinson in 2004, not
Branden Robinson in 1998.
My comments were about Branden Robinson in 2004, not the one in 1998.
I fully acknowledge that, for example, your communication has
significantly improved over the years. Most of my arguments, however,
are about personality; that is, skills which are hard to acquire.
Style of communication is not a personality trait?

How are we to draw conclusions about a person's personality if *not*
through their words and actions?

And if my communication skills have "significantly improved over the
years", as you "fully acknowledge", how does it stand to reason that my
personality has not changed?

For that matter, if communication skills are completely decoupled from
personality traits that are relevant to leadership, how are the voters
to make an informed choice? People no more have the ability to read
your mind than they do Gergely's or mine.

Are you saying that I am an inferior candidate because I possess
personality flaws that are not objectively demonstrable through my
manner of communication?

If people are to reject my "significantly improved" communication
skills, and if they are to reject the skills it requires to to maintain
a large package -- such as glibc or XFree86 -- what critera are the
voters to use when evaluating us?

Once you've eliminated what we say and what we do from consideration,
the voters are left with who we are.
In my own case, I know that I'm a good coordinator by nature. I have
never been known for flamewars, and most people know me as
approachable, and know that I have always been this way.
Okay. What I'm getting from this is basically that you were "born to
lead" -- you've always been a great coordinator, "by nature", and that
you have *always* been approachable.

That's great -- honestly. But is it more valuable than being adaptable
to the needs of the Debian Project? I think I've shown adaptation, and
you and Anthony Towns seem to agree, for all your criticisms.

If born leaders are more suited to lead Debian than home-grown ones who
have been forged in the crucible of our social environment, then why do
we require that the Debian Project Leader even be a Debian Developer in
the first place[2]?

Surely any leader with inherently desirable qualities will be able to
get him- or herself up to speed with our organizational structure and
challenges without having to have gone through an apprenticeship phase.
Especially if that leader's most valuable trait is coordination: the
initiatives are executed by others, while the leader's role is simply in
putting the right people together.
Furthermore, partly in line with AJ said, while your communication has
significantly improved, I wonder why it had to improve in the first
place?
Well, that's rather obvious -- because it wasn't optimal in the first
place. It was a lesson I had to learn, and I think I learned it. I
continue to learn, every day -- as I think we all do if we keep our
inherent fallibility as human beings in mind.

What I'm hearing from you is that Debian Project Leadership is not a
position that is best earned -- it is best anointed upon those who have
the most desirable innate qualities. Why is it a problem if my
communication skills *had* to improve, as long as they have done so?
Moreover, why does it *matter* why those skills had to improve? Shall I
be disqualified to serve as DPL essentially due to inherited traits?

Maybe so. But I don't believe at present that that's the way the Debian
Project does work, or should work. It's not the kind of system I think
of when I hear the word "meritocracy" -- to me, it's more like
"aristocracy".

[1] http://www.debian.org/vote/2004/platforms/tbm
[2] http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution (section 5.2.3)
--
G. Branden Robinson | Notions like Marxism and
Debian GNU/Linux | Freudianism belong to the history
***@debian.org | of organized religion.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | -- Noam Chomsky
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-20 00:15:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
I certainly hope that people will ask themselves whether I have been
productive as DPL. The following questions you raised are all valid,
and they are questions I have constantly asked myself throughout the
year in order to measure my performance.
Okay. What were your answers?
I think I have done a good job, which is why I am running again this
year.
Post by Branden Robinson
Style of communication is not a personality trait?
Of course it is, ...
Post by Branden Robinson
And if my communication skills have "significantly improved over the
years", as you "fully acknowledge", how does it stand to reason that my
personality has not changed?
... I never claimed that personality never changes; of course it does,
it is just much harder to change than many other things.
Post by Branden Robinson
Okay. What I'm getting from this is basically that you were "born to
lead" -- you've always been a great coordinator, "by nature", and that
you have *always* been approachable.
That's great -- honestly. But is it more valuable than being adaptable
to the needs of the Debian Project?
If you're born to do something, does that necessarily make you less
adaptable?
Post by Branden Robinson
If born leaders are more suited to lead Debian than home-grown ones who
have been forged in the crucible of our social environment, then why do
we require that the Debian Project Leader even be a Debian Developer in
the first place[2]?
Because Debian developer does not necessarily imply a technical
function. You can contribute to the project in other ways, and surely
someone interested in leading and coordinating Debian would
contribute, and then sign up for NM.
Post by Branden Robinson
Especially if that leader's most valuable trait is coordination: the
initiatives are executed by others, while the leader's role is simply in
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Post by Branden Robinson
putting the right people together.
Part of coordination is to take initiative. I don't know why you seem
to see coordination as a passive role.
Post by Branden Robinson
What I'm hearing from you is that Debian Project Leadership is not a
position that is best earned
I don't know where you're hearing this...
Post by Branden Robinson
Maybe so. But I don't believe at present that that's the way the
Debian Project does work, or should work. It's not the kind of
system I think of when I hear the word "meritocracy" -- to me, it's
more like "aristocracy".
... I had to show my skills, and win a reputation, just like everyone
else in the project. I successfully did this over the years. I don't
want people to vote for me because I might be innately a good leader,
but because I have shown over the years that I am good at these tasks.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
2004-03-20 06:17:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Branden Robinson
Especially if that leader's most valuable trait is coordination: the
initiatives are executed by others, while the leader's role is simply in
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Post by Branden Robinson
putting the right people together.
Part of coordination is to take initiative. I don't know why you seem
to see coordination as a passive role.
Sorry but i don't understand what you are saying Martin, can you elaburate
on your statement?. As a coordinator I can have initiatives and delegate
their execution to appropriate people. This doesn't necessarly make me
passive.

Thanks
Fabio
--
<user> fajita: step one
<fajita> Whatever the problem, step one is always to look in the error log.
<user> fajita: step two
<fajita> When in danger or in doubt, step two is to scream and shout.
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-21 02:58:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Post by Branden Robinson
Especially if that leader's most valuable trait is coordination: the
initiatives are executed by others, while the leader's role is simply in
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Post by Branden Robinson
putting the right people together.
Part of coordination is to take initiative. I don't know why you seem
to see coordination as a passive role.
Sorry but i don't understand what you are saying Martin, can you elaburate
on your statement?. As a coordinator I can have initiatives and delegate
their execution to appropriate people. This doesn't necessarly make me
passive.
I believe coordination is an active role. The paragraph I quoted
above is from Branden who seems to define coordination in a way that
"initiatives are executed by others". Perhaps he can clarify if this
is what he meant to say.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-21 04:26:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Michlmayr
I believe coordination is an active role. The paragraph I quoted
above is from Branden who seems to define coordination in a way that
"initiatives are executed by others". Perhaps he can clarify if this
is what he meant to say.
I think it is simplistic to try and say "coordination is active" or
"coordination is passive". Good leadership requires both.

Daniel Stone
2004-03-20 00:49:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
Post by Martin Michlmayr
I would go a step further and also ask how much Branden has achieved
of what he wrote in his platforms in the last years, and how much of
this has been done by others in the meantime (not necessarily DPLs).
Rather than doing things which might be perceived as undermining your
authority, or paying disrespect to the will of the electorate (despite
the very close results), I decided to engage in a practical
demonstration of how I would achieve greater openness, communication,
and collaboration, by first applying these principles to my own work in
maintaining XFree86 for Debian.
I suspect the significance of this action was not at all lost on you,
since without the benefit of having seen my platform, you wasted no time
Coordinating a project the size of Debian requires a very different set
of skills than maintaining a large package, such as glibc.[1]
...or XFree86, the reader is surely invited to infer.
In that case, I'd rather you didn't be DPL. The XSF is run as a
Branden-centric 'team', whereby if someone doesn't agree with you,
they're wrong. Where if someone slips up and gets a little
overenthusiastic, they get kicked out of the team briefly, others lose
their access, and #debian-devel's topic announces that the person has
hijacked the package in question. Where people get kicked out, seemingly
on a whim. WHere expectations of others that must be followed under
all circumstances, are not followed by yourself.

I was disillusioned with the XSF before I joined. When I joined, it
didn't get better. My actions were a last-straw attempt to try and force
two issues, which were quite successfully forced. I don't think your XSF
credentials reflect at all positively on your nomination: if you want to
get elected, you're best served by not mentioning that again.

Oh, and did I mention that issues we agreed upon on the phone, were
blatantly violated by yourself? You made a number of promises and
conciliations, then proceded to go back to slandering me on IRC, as per
usual.

I have no confidence in you, Branden. Not as a developer, not as a team
leader, and certainly not as a leader (I have more confidence in NOTA).

Daniel, disillusioned and disappoitned ex-'X Strike Force' member

PS: I'm not subscribed to -vote, please CC me on replies.
--
Daniel Stone <***@debian.org>
Debian: the universal operating system http://www.debian.org
Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
2004-03-20 07:16:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
Coordinating a project the size of Debian requires a very different set
of skills than maintaining a large package, such as glibc.[1]
...or XFree86, the reader is surely invited to infer.
The XSF is run as a Branden-centric 'team', whereby if someone doesn't
agree with you, they're wrong.
Personally I don't agree with you. An eg. that doesn't touch either you or
me directly:
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=236780
Where if someone slips up and gets a little overenthusiastic, they get
kicked out of the team briefly, others lose their access,
Which others? afaik noone other than you has been kicked out from the XFS.
My account was closed once to attempt to diagnose a problem you had
connecting to the repository. For reference this was coordinated on IRC of
which i do not have logs (#debian-devel on freenode).
and #debian-devel's topic announces that the person has hijacked the
package in question.
Even if it was me the object of the topic i would have find it funny,
perhaps my italian sense of humor? ;)

More seriously, I would have probably reacted the same way if someone was
going to upload one of the packages i co-maintain without warning and
specially when i am not VAC or MIA, but active almost 24/7 and the TODO
list for that release was still not empty. What would have been your
reaction to a similar situation in which you were sitting in Branden
position?

Note that I am not commenting on your personal feelings since they
represent your point of view and your personality and it doesn't stand up
to me neither to judge them or try to convince you to change them.

Fabio
PS: I'm not subscribed to -vote, please CC me on replies.
of course ;)
--
<user> fajita: step one
<fajita> Whatever the problem, step one is always to look in the error log.
<user> fajita: step two
<fajita> When in danger or in doubt, step two is to scream and shout.
Daniel Stone
2004-03-20 11:24:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
Post by Branden Robinson
Coordinating a project the size of Debian requires a very different set
of skills than maintaining a large package, such as glibc.[1]
...or XFree86, the reader is surely invited to infer.
The XSF is run as a Branden-centric 'team', whereby if someone doesn't
agree with you, they're wrong.
Personally I don't agree with you. An eg. that doesn't touch either you or
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=236780
Yes, but had I disagreed with Branden, my opinion would've been noted
and very quickly discarded.
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
Where if someone slips up and gets a little overenthusiastic, they get
kicked out of the team briefly, others lose their access,
Which others? afaik noone other than you has been kicked out from the XFS.
My account was closed once to attempt to diagnose a problem you had
connecting to the repository. For reference this was coordinated on IRC of
which i do not have logs (#debian-devel on freenode).
I was briefly excommunicated from the XSF, and everyone had their access
suspended, when I made the libGLU/libGL-renaming commit. That was when
Branden set #debian-devel's topic to 'everyone congratulate Daniel
Stone, he is the new XFree86 maintainer', or words to that effect.
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
and #debian-devel's topic announces that the person has hijacked the
package in question.
Even if it was me the object of the topic i would have find it funny,
perhaps my italian sense of humor? ;)
I found it vaguely amusing (in a morbid kind of way), but it's not the
sort of thing you do with packages that are, Branden insists, absolutely
criticl to every single system running Debian.
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
More seriously, I would have probably reacted the same way if someone was
going to upload one of the packages i co-maintain without warning and
specially when i am not VAC or MIA, but active almost 24/7 and the TODO
list for that release was still not empty. What would have been your
reaction to a similar situation in which you were sitting in Branden
position?
I'm not defending my conduct here as the way to work in a team; I'm
stating what happened before this to make me decided I needed to leave
the XSF, is not a sterling example of team leadership. If Branden is
suggesting this style he used to manage one very active contributor
(such as ignoring my emails asking about some issues and then flaming me
for doing it 'wrong' when I had to do *something*), can be successfully
expanded to cover the entire Debian project, we're in trouble.
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
Note that I am not commenting on your personal feelings since they
represent your point of view and your personality and it doesn't stand up
to me neither to judge them or try to convince you to change them.
I do indeed have my own feelings on my issue, and they aren't
necessarily the obvious ones. This is wildly OT for -vote, though - what
I did is irrelevant (or, more to the point, why); Branden's reactions to
my actions are what's in question here. And not the issue of myself
uploading 4.3.0-1 - all the stuff before that, that made me decide to
leave the XSF.

:) d
--
Daniel Stone <***@debian.org>
Debian: the universal operating system http://www.debian.org
Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
2004-03-20 12:39:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Stone
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
The XSF is run as a Branden-centric 'team', whereby if someone doesn't
agree with you, they're wrong.
Personally I don't agree with you. An eg. that doesn't touch either you or
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=236780
Yes, but had I disagreed with Branden, my opinion would've been noted
and very quickly discarded.
I think we are going personal here and i don't like to (since i am sure it
will endup in a flameware, <humor>want to bet Daniel that if it is not for
us, someone else will turn this it into a flame? ;)</humor>), but Thomas
Hood (236780-submitter) expressed his disagrement with Branden on a
certain decision and i don't read anywhere that Thomas is 'wrong'.
Post by Daniel Stone
If Branden is suggesting this style he used to manage one very active
contributor (such as ignoring my emails asking about some issues and
then flaming me for doing it 'wrong' when I had to do *something*), can
be successfully expanded to cover the entire Debian project, we're in
trouble.
[SNIP]
Post by Daniel Stone
Branden's reactions to my actions are what's in question here.
I find perfectly normal that some people don't like other people and this
is true for all of us. It is simply part of the human nature. It happens
everywhere all the time.. at work, with friends and so on...

And at this point you might also want to be fair towards all the
candidates. How would you interpret this mail from the current DPL?
http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2003/debian-project-200311/msg00116.html

(note that this reference is NOT meant to take credits away from anyone
but only to show that even Martin as Branden as everyone else has a human
side, as well all of you can just poke debian-apache for my flames..
http://lists.debian.org/debian-apache/2004/debian-apache-200403/msg00220.html
oh yes.. i am human too. doh! ;))

Of course we do agree that who is going to take leadership of Debian will
have to behave impartially on top of his/her personal feelings, but I
don't think it is fair to point the finger to any of the candidates using
a single personal case.

Fabio
--
<user> fajita: step one
<fajita> Whatever the problem, step one is always to look in the error log.
<user> fajita: step two
<fajita> When in danger or in doubt, step two is to scream and shout.
Daniel Stone
2004-03-20 13:09:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
Post by Daniel Stone
Yes, but had I disagreed with Branden, my opinion would've been noted
and very quickly discarded.
I think we are going personal here and i don't like to (since i am sure it
will endup in a flameware, <humor>want to bet Daniel that if it is not for
us, someone else will turn this it into a flame? ;)</humor>), but Thomas
Hood (236780-submitter) expressed his disagrement with Branden on a
certain decision and i don't read anywhere that Thomas is 'wrong'.
YOU'RE AN IDIOT! CHUTUP MORMON

(That, by the way, was sarcasm.)

That was something Branden didn't really care about - if it was
something Branden had a strong opinion on, it would've been a different
story.
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
Post by Daniel Stone
If Branden is suggesting this style he used to manage one very active
contributor (such as ignoring my emails asking about some issues and
then flaming me for doing it 'wrong' when I had to do *something*), can
be successfully expanded to cover the entire Debian project, we're in
trouble.
[SNIP]
Post by Daniel Stone
Branden's reactions to my actions are what's in question here.
I find perfectly normal that some people don't like other people and this
is true for all of us. It is simply part of the human nature. It happens
everywhere all the time.. at work, with friends and so on...
And at this point you might also want to be fair towards all the
candidates. How would you interpret this mail from the current DPL?
http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2003/debian-project-200311/msg00116.html
As being quite harsh.
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
(note that this reference is NOT meant to take credits away from anyone
but only to show that even Martin as Branden as everyone else has a human
side, as well all of you can just poke debian-apache for my flames..
http://lists.debian.org/debian-apache/2004/debian-apache-200403/msg00220.html
oh yes.. i am human too. doh! ;))
Yeah, a quick application of Google will show I cannot moral-high-horse
on this one. I don't have any real position on the flames, just on the
fact that Branden is incapable of working with quite a few people -
Martin seems to have pissed far less developers off than Branden.

Of course, Branden is polarising (witness the 'Branden Fan Club'), for
example, but I'd rather a DPL who could work quite well with all the
people, than one who could work brilliantly with 20%, non-commitally
with 40%, and not at all with another 40%.
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
Of course we do agree that who is going to take leadership of Debian will
have to behave impartially on top of his/her personal feelings, but I
don't think it is fair to point the finger to any of the candidates using
a single personal case.
I don't think this is a single personal case; Branden said 'look how
well I have managed the XSF, this is how well I'll manage Debian'. I
felt I had to point out that this was not a good thing.
--
Daniel Stone <***@debian.org>
Debian: the universal operating system http://www.debian.org
Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
2004-03-20 14:40:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Stone
YOU'RE AN IDIOT! CHUTUP MORMON
(That, by the way, was sarcasm.)
lol :-) I would never take that seriously.. not from you at least :P
Post by Daniel Stone
I don't have any real position on the flames, just on the fact that
Branden is incapable of working with quite a few people - Martin seems
to have pissed far less developers off than Branden.
Of course, Branden is polarising (witness the 'Branden Fan Club'), for
example, but I'd rather a DPL who could work quite well with all the
people, than one who could work brilliantly with 20%, non-commitally
with 40%, and not at all with another 40%.
I think that in both cases is due to the fact that X is under the eyes of
everyone. You make one user happy and one DD no and viceversa. Same goes
for apache (till a certain point).. you make happy a person fixing a bug,
someone else complains about the fix... there is nothing you can do about
it.. you get both the bad and good part of it.
Post by Daniel Stone
Post by Fabio Massimo Di Nitto
Of course we do agree that who is going to take leadership of Debian will
have to behave impartially on top of his/her personal feelings, but I
don't think it is fair to point the finger to any of the candidates using
a single personal case.
I don't think this is a single personal case; Branden said 'look how
well I have managed the XSF, this is how well I'll manage Debian'. I
felt I had to point out that this was not a good thing.
I think you are misinterpreting Branden's platform or perhaps I am, but

'I emphasize this work because many of these advantages to managing
software development translate to project management as well, as I will
show.'

means for me that he wants to use that knowledge and experience as a base
for his job as DPL (if elected of course) and not as an exact match simply
because there is no perfect match.

Anyway it is soon time to vote of: "Who is the weakest link^W^Wbest DPL?"
;)

Ciao,
Fabio
--
<user> fajita: step one
<fajita> Whatever the problem, step one is always to look in the error log.
<user> fajita: step two
<fajita> When in danger or in doubt, step two is to scream and shout.
Hamish Moffatt
2004-03-21 01:58:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Stone
they're wrong. Where if someone slips up and gets a little
overenthusiastic,
Err, you think that uploading a major new version of a major
package is a slip up?

It seems a bit more deliberate than that to me.

Hamish
--
Hamish Moffatt VK3SB <***@debian.org> <***@cloud.net.au>
Daniel Stone
2004-03-21 02:05:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hamish Moffatt
Post by Daniel Stone
they're wrong. Where if someone slips up and gets a little
overenthusiastic,
Err, you think that uploading a major new version of a major
package is a slip up?
It seems a bit more deliberate than that to me.
Read the posts before you reply. I already said I was talking about the
libGL/libGLU renaming, where Branden took the entire repository down,
not the 4.3.0-1 upload.
--
Daniel Stone <***@debian.org>
Debian: the universal operating system http://www.debian.org
Marc Haber
2004-03-04 08:03:17 UTC
Permalink
Hi,

Andreas has asked a lot of the questions that I intended to ask as
well, so I only need to amend one question he asked.
Post by Andreas Tille
2. Recently we had some flamewars about concentration of "power" for
some people inside Debian. While I'm much more relaxed than many
others and save my time for work instead of fighting flame wars
I have one certain question here. How do you see the role of
James Troup in the project?
2a. Do you see the concentration of many important roles on a few
people as a problem? As example, I'd like to name DAM, keyring
maintenance, release management, ftpmaster, listmaster and buildd
coordination. While some of these roles are indeed officially
shared among a team, practice shows that usually there is only one
member of the teams acting publicly, with the others more or less
acting as backup.

Additionally, these teams don't seem to communicate well
internally. Do you see a problem when a request posed to a team is
rejected along the lines of "try again with another member"?

The situation might be influenced as well by the fact that there
are people on multiple important roles in Debian, and these people are
notoriously overworked. Wouldn't it be better to allow only one or two
important roles per person? What would you define an "important
role"?

Will you try to improve this situation during your term of office?
What do you intend to do?

How will you answer if somebody asks you about your opinion on
"Debian being actually run by a cabal of at most six people"?

What would be your answer if somebody would suggest amending the
constitution to move some of the "important roles" from being
delegates of the DPL to being elected by the body of the
developers?

I am asking these questions because I am deeply disappointed with the
way technical, procedural and communicative problems are handled by
the project, and the DPL vote is the only way a mere mortal developer
can influence the distribution of important roles in the Debian
project. Thus, we need your answers to be able to choose the DPL who
will try to solve the problems outlined above, and I surely hope that
the three of you will answer differently ;) .

Thanks for answering.

Greetings
Marc
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marc Haber | "I don't trust Computers. They | Mailadresse im Header
Karlsruhe, Germany | lose things." Winona Ryder | Fon: *49 721 966 32 15
Nordisch by Nature | How to make an American Quilt | Fax: *49 721 966 31 29
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-05 04:03:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marc Haber
2a. Do you see the concentration of many important roles on a few
people as a problem? As example, I'd like to name DAM, keyring
If they cannot successfully perform their duties, then this is
certainly a problem, yes. See below.
Post by Marc Haber
Additionally, these teams don't seem to communicate well
internally. Do you see a problem when a request posed to a team is
rejected along the lines of "try again with another member"?
I think teams in general should (and do) agree on things. However,
the world is not binary, and sometimes it's hard to give a strict
"yes" or "no". In such cases, I think it's perfectly okay to say "I
personally think FOO, but another member of the team may disagree with
this". In your specific case of having a package rejected by one
ftpmaster saying basically "try again with another member", I think it
would have been better for this ftpmaster to ask other people of the
team and come to an agreement.
Post by Marc Haber
The situation might be influenced as well by the fact that there
are people on multiple important roles in Debian, and these people are
notoriously overworked. Wouldn't it be better to allow only one or two
important roles per person? What would you define an "important
role"?
I don't think that a rigid rule like "only X roles per person" would
work. There are some people who can handle X roles perfectly while
others wouldn't. It's the same with maintaining packages. Should
there be a maximum number of packages someone may maintain? I don't
think so, because there is no magic number which works for everyone.
I have seen plenty of cases where maintainers do not have enough time
to maintainer their _single_ package while other maintainers maintain
10 or 15 packages really well.

Back to important roles. Just to give an example why "only X roles
per person" would not work. Colin Watson does QA, BTS and release
work and is doing a _very fine_ job at it. I cannot remember any
complaints about his work. Myself, I'm handling the NM Front Desk, do
QA and act as DPL.

Rather than having a rigid rule like "only X roles per person", I
think we have to clearly identify who is overworked, so that we can
then approach the problem. As I described in my platform
(http://www.debian.org/vote/2004/platforms/tbm), section "Internal -
Core Teams, Delegates, Communication, Transparency", I believe many
core teams do not have enough man power, and I am working with them to
add more people.
Post by Marc Haber
Will you try to improve this situation during your term of office?
What do you intend to do?
Yes, please see my platform for more details. I will clearly identify
who is overworked and help to find addition man power. I will also
find out if there are other ways to help them carry out their tasks
(for example by providing them with certain infrastructure). All of
these coordination activities require person skills which I possess.
Post by Marc Haber
How will you answer if somebody asks you about your opinion on
"Debian being actually run by a cabal of at most six people"?
There is a group of people who do much work and control many things,
but I don't see the project as being controlled by a small group.
There are many people who can make great contributions (see below).
Post by Marc Haber
What would be your answer if somebody would suggest amending the
constitution to move some of the "important roles" from being
delegates of the DPL to being elected by the body of the
developers?
I doubt electing people would work very well, simply because there is
often a lack of people willing to carry out a specific task (so who
would you elect), and electing does not ensure that you create a team
which can actually work together. However, as DPL, I am listening to
everyone and take this information into account when finding people
for important roles. Also, this task is not limited to the DPL.
Post by Marc Haber
the DPL vote is the only way a mere mortal developer can influence
the distribution of important roles in the Debian project.
I don't believe this is true. I joined Debian only a few years ago,
and I did not have any special power or control at all. I first got
involved in New Maintainer as an Application Manager and later helped
out with the Front Desk. The same goes for my QA work. I did not
need the DPL or anyone else - I influenced the distribution of roles
myself by getting involved and helping out. I know some people
perceive it to be difficult to join an important role, but many
examples show that it is indeed possible. As argued in my platform, I
am working with people to help them join important roles, and to add
more man power to overworked groups. I can do this because I can
interact with many different people and know how they work.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Marc Haber
2004-03-05 07:48:18 UTC
Permalink
Hi Martin,
Post by Martin Michlmayr
Yes, please see my platform for more details. I will clearly identify
who is overworked and help to find addition man power. I will also
find out if there are other ways to help them carry out their tasks
(for example by providing them with certain infrastructure). All of
these coordination activities require person skills which I possess.
I would like to ask what you have done in your past term to find out
overworked core roles, and what happened to ease the work load on
these core roles. Are you satisfied with the success of the measures
you took?
Post by Martin Michlmayr
I doubt electing people would work very well, simply because there is
often a lack of people willing to carry out a specific task (so who
would you elect), and electing does not ensure that you create a team
which can actually work together.
This could be eased by not electing independent people, probably
forming a team incapable of doing work, but by electing lists of
people that have formed themselves before. This would, however, of
course, need a big constitution change.
Post by Martin Michlmayr
From a few of the flamef^wdiscussions about important roles in the
past, I have learnt that the project also has a history of rejecting
people wanting to help. I am quite disappointed by the project's
handling of - for example - people who would like to contribute
additional buildds for architectures that notoriously lagged behind.
Instead of allowing in more buildds, we have managed to scare people
successfully operating buildds away, resulting in a net _loss_ of
buildd time. Do you see this as a problem?

Greetings
Marc
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marc Haber | "I don't trust Computers. They | Mailadresse im Header
Karlsruhe, Germany | lose things." Winona Ryder | Fon: *49 721 966 32 15
Nordisch by Nature | How to make an American Quilt | Fax: *49 721 966 31 29
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-05 14:51:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marc Haber
I would like to ask what you have done in your past term to find out
overworked core roles, and what happened to ease the work load on
these core roles.
I stay in constant contact with a wide range of people involved in
core team. Just to give two examples, I'm in regular contact with
Matt Zimmerman (security) and Pascal Hakim (listmaster), but the same
goes for other people and groups. By staying in regular contact with
those people, I have a very good understanding of their work, of their
problems, and know how to help them.

In the case of security, I promoted Matt to a fully security member
soon after becoming DPL which improved the situation significantly
(just look who's doing most security updates these days); however,
this is not enough. I've been working with Matt to find more
volunteers for the security team, and we have been discussing a
security database which will allow more coordination within the
security team. As to listmaster, I regularly give Pasc advice on
procedural matters, and we also talk about problems with man power.
Joe Nahmias has recently been added as a listmaster, and we're
discussing whether another addition is required. I worked with the
DAM to find out how his job can be made easier, and certain changes
led to major improvements.

There are also other things that needs to be done with are not
directly related to work load. For example, Joey Hess complained that
it takes him a long time to test debian-installer, so I talked to a
hardware company to get a laptop on loan to him. In the buildd
situation, I found out that some MIPS hardware became unavailable, and
so arranged for a new MIPS machine (which is currently being built
up).
Post by Marc Haber
Are you satisfied with the success of the measures you took?
Yes, I think good progress has been made, but much remains to be done.
As I say in my platform
(http://www.debian.org/vote/2004/platforms/tbm), "While progress is
being made, much remains to be done." I intend to give special
attention to this issue - please see my platform.
Post by Marc Haber
From a few of the flamef^wdiscussions about important roles in the
past, I have learnt that the project also has a history of rejecting
people wanting to help.
As I argue in my platform and in various mails on -vote, I think this
is often because of bad communication. Since I know how the core
teams work, I know fairly well what exactly they need and how to get
people involved with these teams.

See e.g.
http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/debian-vote-200403/msg00025.html
for more information on this.
Post by Marc Haber
I am quite disappointed by the project's handling of - for example -
people who would like to contribute additional buildds for
architectures that notoriously lagged behind.
There were good reasons for rejecting that offer, even if they were
not communicated well (for example, the machine had a slow CPU and not
enough disk). Again, I think communication is often a problem, and I
can help because I'm in a position to interact with a wide range of
people. As a matter of fact, another MIPS machine is in the process
if being set up - this shows that offers are accepted, if they are done
in the right way (and the machine also fulfils the requirements for a
buildd).
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Matt Zimmerman
2004-03-05 17:24:36 UTC
Permalink
I stay in constant contact with a wide range of people involved in core
team. Just to give two examples, I'm in regular contact with Matt
Zimmerman (security) and Pascal Hakim (listmaster), but the same goes for
other people and groups. By staying in regular contact with those people,
I have a very good understanding of their work, of their problems, and
know how to help them.
I must say, in my experience, Martin qualifies as one of the most
get-a-holdable people in Debian. I've never had a problem getting in touch
when I need something from him, and he has also often brought information to
my attention on his own initiative.
--
- mdz
Branden Robinson
2004-03-19 21:38:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marc Haber
Hi,
Andreas has asked a lot of the questions that I intended to ask as
well, so I only need to amend one question he asked.
Sorry for the delay in replying. Your amended question was a doozy! :)
Post by Marc Haber
2a. Do you see the concentration of many important roles on a few
people as a problem? As example, I'd like to name DAM, keyring
maintenance, release management, ftpmaster, listmaster and buildd
coordination. While some of these roles are indeed officially
shared among a team, practice shows that usually there is only one
member of the teams acting publicly, with the others more or less
acting as backup.
Potentially, yes, I see it as a problem, but as has been pointed out,
most of these roles appear to have delegates and/or backup personnel in
place, even keyring maintainer. It could hurt to update what most
people would probably think is our official documentation[1] to reflect
this.
Post by Marc Haber
Additionally, these teams don't seem to communicate well
internally.
I don't think that's true for all of them. I think it might be helpful
if all mail to and from these role addresses (see [1]) were routed
through a privately-archived list (much as debian-private is archived).

We might then be able to more seriously assess whether this is true for
a given team, and if so how bad the problem is.

Do you agree, or does archiving pose a danger I do not anticipate?
Post by Marc Haber
Do you see a problem when a request posed to a team is rejected
along the lines of "try again with another member"?
Yes and no. I don't have a problem with a request being bounced if it's
flat-out inappropriate for that team. But I don't think that's quite
the scenario you're talking about.

If a team member feels the need to recuse himself from handling an
apropos request, for whatever reason, he or she should probably
communicate that fact to the rest of the team him- or herself. If the
request came to a role address as it should, then that team member need
do nothing more, as the entire team should be aware of the request.

In this case, a system like RT would be a better fit than a mailing
list, because every ticket is "owned" by someone. If the ticket is
owned by "Nobody" or just a generic role address, then it's easy for
observers to tell that no team member has accepted responsibility for
it.

It might be to tell when something's fallen on the floor that way than
with a mailing list -- on the other, it's not *that* hard to send a
one-line mail that says "I'm on this."

Hopefully one strategy or the other is palatable to most teams.
Post by Marc Haber
The situation might be influenced as well by the fact that there
are people on multiple important roles in Debian, and these people are
notoriously overworked. Wouldn't it be better to allow only one or two
important roles per person?
If there's not a problem getting delegates or fallbacks appointed, no --
unless you can point out some sort of inherent potential conflict of
interest between any two positions.
Post by Marc Haber
What would you define an "important role"?
That's a followup to your previous question, and I'd rather identify
pairs of "conflicting" roles than by awarding the term "important" to
some roles. After all, that implies the other roles aren't.
Post by Marc Haber
Will you try to improve this situation during your term of office?
What do you intend to do?
I'm going to have to point you to my reply to Martin Schulze[2], though
the answer is a little broad.

If you perceive a strong conflict-of-interest between any of the roles
listed on our organization page[1], I urge you to waste no time bringing
it to the attention of the -project list.

Note that the Constituion already forbids the same person from holding
some offices, such as Project Secretary and Project Leader. General
Rule 2.1.2 is:

A person may hold several posts, except that the Project Leader,
Project Secretary and the Chairman of the Technical Committee must be
distinct, and that the Leader cannot appoint themselves as their own
Delegate.[3]
Post by Marc Haber
How will you answer if somebody asks you about your opinion on
"Debian being actually run by a cabal of at most six people"?
I'd say, "Actually, it's run by a cabal of 908!"[4] :)

I think the term "cabal" is too loaded for serious use, and is best
reserved or wry or humorous discussion. And in my experience, that's
pretty much how it's used.
Post by Marc Haber
What would be your answer if somebody would suggest amending the
constitution to move some of the "important roles" from being
delegates of the DPL to being elected by the body of the
developers?
I'd say, "Propose an RFC to debian-project, and see if you can come up
with a proposal that's worth floating as a General Resolution on
debian-vote".

I don't think your suggestion has been really seriously discussed
before, at least not since the Constituion was first drafted, and I
wouldn't want to pre-judge or bias the discussion by speaking ex
cathedra as the DPL, or even as a candidate.
Post by Marc Haber
I am asking these questions because I am deeply disappointed with the
way technical, procedural and communicative problems are handled by
the project, and the DPL vote is the only way a mere mortal developer
can influence the distribution of important roles in the Debian
project. Thus, we need your answers to be able to choose the DPL who
will try to solve the problems outlined above, and I surely hope that
the three of you will answer differently ;) .
I hope my answer has not disappointed, and that you have found the
answers you seek from all three of us.

[1] http://www.debian.org/intro/organization
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/debian-vote-200403/msg00157.html
[3] http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution
[4] http://www.debian.org/vote/2004/vote_001.quorum.log
--
G. Branden Robinson | The National Security Agency is
Debian GNU/Linux | working on the Fourth Amendment
***@debian.org | thing.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | -- Phil Lago, Deputy XD, CIA
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