Andreas Schuldei 2006 DPL Platform
"The future of Debian: purpose-driven and predictable"
- 1 Introduction
- 2 What I want to achieve
- 2.1 Last year's aims
- 2.2 Futher goals
- 3 How I want to achieve it: The DPL Team, second take
- 4 Debian helping its Developers
- 5 Resource Allocation
- 6 Debian Becoming More Purpose-Driven
- 7 Milestones
- 8 Why vote for me?
1 - Introduction
"The future of Debian: purpose-driven and predictable"
With this motto, I would like to complement last year's aim: "The overall goal is to make Debian a fun and rewarding context to work and spend time in. So much so, that one misses and longs for it when one can't be or work in it". This aim remains the same.
I am 35 years old, am married and we have two children. I have been a Debian Developer since 2000 and have worked professionally with Linux (and later Debian) since 1996. Many of you may also know me from serving as part of last year's DPL Team or from the numerous Debian conferences that I helped organize.
In summary, I am running for the office of Debian Project Leader because:
- I have collected considerable experience in how to organize Debian from a leadship role during the last term and believe that it is vital for Debian to carry this experience over to the next term.
- I believe that Debian needs some changes in how it works (even on a social level) and I have experience in implementing change in volunteer driven scenarios.
- I have experience with leadership in real-life volunteer/FOSS projects.
- When necessary, I will be able to serve as DPL full-time.
- I have an excellent track record of organization.
2 - What I want to achieve
The goals I formulated last year remain valid and relevant for the next term. Allow me to quickly list them again:
having more frequent real-life meetings. For example, DebConfs, bug-squashing parties and development/hack meetings. An example includes the meeting sponsored by the Region of Extremadura this year.
promoting lots of small teams all over the project, in which people work together, communicate and help, integrate and train NMs.
having a more friendly and helpful environment on mailing lists and IRC channels.
making people aware of their leadership role in the project. and encouraging them to accept it more consciously and confidently
having more frequent and regular releases.
Some progress has been made on these goals during the last year. The most noticable might have been the Extremadura work meetings, which are now under way. Another major improvement occured in Debian's security team, which now has started to work in a team-oriented, more transparent fashion, and is now more open to help from newcomers than previously.
A lot of work has been performed by the existing core teams, but it hasn't been easy to see from people not directly involved in the team. As DPL I will lead this work further, which leaves us with more transparent, dynamic and communicative core teams. I regard this as a prerequisite for the upcoming release and would like to see it taken forward in good time before etch.
The mentors.debian.net and sponsors.debian.net project are in the process of being integrated and improved. This will allow others and potential NMs to contribute to Debian in a much easier way.
The initial delay of Sarge hurt Debian's reputation as a distribution. We have a good, realistic timetable for the release of Etch, and this should be made a priority, as well as ensuring the timely release of Etch+1.
My additional goals this year, which I will pursue are:
Debian needs to care more about its contributors.
Help to allocate resources for Debian.
Help Debian to work more purpose-driven.
Debian is a growing project, but often its growth is limited by availability of resources. Making more resources available will help developers be more productive in reaching their goals, and improve Debian overall.
3 - How I want to achieve it: The DPL Team, second take
Having worked on the DPL Team during 2005 I know how time consuming and, at times, even draining it is for an individual. Despite this, I am convinced that a DPL Team is the way for the project to move forward. I have witnessed how much potential it holds when like minded people work closely together and provide feedback to each other. This ability for people to 'bounce ideas off each other' is invaluable, and I believe is the very foundation of what makes Debian what it is.
I am also certain that Debian has grown beyond the size where a single person can appreciate and follow all the important ongoing issues, form an opinion on them, and act accordingly. People who state this underestimate the task and are bound to fail.
During the campaining period, I will present the members of this year's DPL team and what areas they will focus on. Currently Andreas Barth and Steve Langasek have agreed to serve as contacts to the release team and will take special care to see etch happen in time. Neil McGovern will work on the team as the contact to the security team. We are actively looking for someone acting as Community contact. 
4 - Debian helping its Developers
Many positions in Debian offer services to the rest of the project (e.g. Alioth, the keyring maintainer, the NM process, the FTP Team etc). Some of these do just fine and interact very well (and friendly) with the rest of the project. It would benefit the project as a whole to use these examples as a first step towards a more communicative system, and following, a higher regard and appreciation for those who volunteer and perform these roles. This would also lead to a more friendly, and productive relationship between developers who require help from these teams, and those within it.
5 - Resource Allocation
A talent that I hold is to help people to allocate resources for their work. I want to bring this skill to the role of DPL.
Resources that can help people to work on Debian:
- Work/hack meetings
- Bandwidth offerings
- Travel cost support
- Hardware offerings
- Hosting/Server offerings
An attempt to raise some money from the community in a continuous and fun way should be investigated. Some work has already occured: https://wiki.debian.org/FriendsOfDebian.
6 - Debian Becoming More Purpose-Driven
One of the major achievements of the Debian community is the way that some groups (e.g. the release team and d-i) formulate and pursue goals. This example of purpose-driven work helps the co-operation in and between teams, since it both formulates and communicates goals and also focuses energy and time. It also gives a strong feeling of achievement once a set goal is reached. As DPL I will encourage teams to do likewise and will support them in setting and reaching their goals.
7 - Milestones
I know that many people just want to know for good reasons what happens inside Debian and the DPL team, and what should be achieved by certain dates. For this reason, I will set up a list of target milestones and the DPL report will include what worked well and what didn't. These milestones will be maintained at https://wiki.debian.org/DPLTeamMilestones
8 - Why vote for me?
I will make it more fun and rewarding to work on Debian. I have leadership experience, and an excellent team to help me (and I trust the team enough that I won't block them from working). If necessary, I can work full-time as DPL. Vote for me, and Debian will become a better place.
To organize the team I would apply very similar rules as last year:
- DPL is chairman of the DPL-team.
- DPL remains formally responsible for all decisions.
- Whenever possible, tasks are delegated to the most appropriate team member.
- Important and/or controversial decisions are made in discussion with the whole team.
- The team meets regularly (monthly) in an open irc channel, to discuss progress, new issues and review ongoing tasks.
- It is a real team. Each member can represent it and communicate the team's viewpoint above personal viewpoints.
- Minutes/logs of the meetings are made available.
- Although proven helpful, a private irc channel for venting and private issues should be kept to a minimum.
- Most normal exchange and discussion should take place in the open irc channel.
A key issue to the success of the team is the "active delegation". I feel this has been under-utilized during the last term and left the rest of the team decapitated when the DPL was not at hand. For a proper, formally empowered DPL Team, the constitution would need to be changed. I would pursue that course if the team seems to work well.