Platform for Moshe Zadka


Do nothing unless you must, and when you must act -- hesitate. (Isaac Asimov, Foundation's Edge)


As Debian Project Leader, I promise to do as little as possible. If a delegate position needs to be filled, I will attempt to pick someone as close to the consensus as possible. Other than that, I will not attempt to create new positions, nor to advance new directions within Debian. It is my firm belief that Debian survives and flourishes because of the people doing the day to day job, and they deserve the most credit. Therefore, I will let each delegate work within his niche according to his wishes, and will not micromanage.

The Debian Project Leader, I believe, is primarily about representing the project to the outside world. In that capacity, for every free software related function (be it a conference, a trade-show or anything else), any Debian developers who wish to volunteer to represent Debian will get an ad-hoc position to represent Debian in that function. I firmly believe that any Debian developer can represent Debian interest's well.


Apparently, SPI is undergoing elections. I cannot predict, and would not want to, who will win. I can promise that I will make sure the treasurer, whoever he is, does not use funds earmarked for Debian for non-Debian purposes. Whatever else SPI does is up to the SPI board and members, and as DPL I would let them run SPI as they see fit.


For me, Debian is an operating system. It is, when I think about it, the only operating system which satisfies my minimum criteria: it is portable, it is comprehensive and it is free. I sincerely hope that Debian continues to be a good operating system and even improve: to have less bugs, to have more packages and to run on more platforms and operating systems. I fully realize that the DPL has little effect on the various efforts to do so, and so the only campaign promise I can make is to get out of the way of the good people who are doing the work.

More than that, I will try, as far as my position as DPL allows me, to have other people stay out of the way of the useful people. I will refuse to let Debian become a generic organization for free software or against software patents. Individual developers are free, of course, to join such organizations as the EFF and the FSF: I myself support those organizations whole-heartedly. In fact, I believe the EFF and FSF do their jobs admirably, and I would not attempt to have Debian compete with them.


The Freenode vs. OFTC war has raged for several months. In retrospect, I believe that pointing towards a network we had no control of (and therefore, no inherent attachment to) has been a mistake. However, what is done is done: our users have come to expect that if they login to irc.d.o, they can expect to find a useful #debian. In the interests of not making a bad situation worse, I think it would be useful to keep irc.d.o pointing towards Freenode. If it so happens, and I have no reason to believe so, that Freenode goes below a certain threshold of usefulness (for example, it stops existing altogether), I'd encourage to point irc.d.o to OFTC. If that happens, I will appeal to the Debian community, via a General Resolution, for what irc.d.o should be in the long run.


As some of you may know, I am not a native English speaker, and I come from a country where English is not an official language. However, I feel that it is important for all Debian developers to be able to communicate. Therefore, I feel that Debian development should continue to be conducted in English. I fear that attempting to cater to different language inside the Debian development process would lead to fragmentation and miscommunication. That said, I support translation efforts. Users of Debian should not have to learn English just to use it. In addition, if translators wish to have a bug report translation service, they are most welcome to.


The candidates all speak of the wonderous things they can do as DPLs, while forgetting one thing: the DPL is afforded very little power by the constitution. If we want to vote on a "Debian Merit Badge", or a "Most Likely to Do Stuff For Debian", then I am not the best candidate. However, it is my belief we are not: we are voting for a capable administator for those responsibilities the constitution has placed in the hands of the Debian Project Leader. As such, perhaps it is the term "leader" that confuses us: in fact, what the constitution defines would be more aptly called "the Debian Project Administrator". I do not feel it is the DPL's goal to inspire technical directions: such directions come aplenty from inside the developer community (for example, the Debian Desktop project, or the Debian Installer project). I do not feel it is the DPL's goal to solve most of the disputes: most of those are better off "unsolved" or solved by the tech-ctte. I fail to see why Martin Michlmayr, of whom I have great appreciation, I fail to see why he cannot co-ordinate and motivate people without being DPL. After all, as DPL, he would not get any co-ordination powers. I fail to see why Bdale cannot support flavours, i18n and communication within the community without having "DPL" stamped on his forehead. Branden claims the DPL's chief responsibility is delegation, with which I agree. But surely, he can write the web-page with the list of delegates without being DPL, unless DPL empowers him to learn HTML.

Branden claimed that the "potential problems" I pointed out in my platform are unlikely. I fully agree: I wrote them as the kind of situations where I will feel that in spite of my do-nothing policy, I am forced to act.

Many would possibly question why I feel I am the most suitable for DPL, then. I feel so because of all the candidates, I alone promise I will *not* attempt to use the DPL's power more than absolutely necessary. I promise that I will not try to meddle in your internal projects, your policies or disputes, but will let you work it out between yourselves, like the responsible adults that we all hope Debian Developers are. I feel that all the other candidates have an inherently condescnending platform, while I am merely offering my services to the Debian Developer community.

I have already noted elsewhere that I do not expect to win. I do not expect to win because I feel that the DPL position is awarded as a merit badge, rather than as a position of trust. If you do not believe so, please vote for me.