Platform for Angus Lees

Who is Angus Lees?

Most of you have probably not heard of me. I became a Debian Developer in 2000 after using Linux since 1995. I am 28 years old and married with 3 children. I work as a developer for a small company which produces Debian-based managed routers. I maintain a handful of Perl packages, the most popular being Defoma; but I'm not the original author so please don't hold that against me.

I try not to spend too much time on email or IRC, hence my low profile amongst Debian internationally. In Australia, however, I try to meet people whenever I can and I have given presentations at past Debian miniconfs, and other Debian-au events. I would like to think that most Australian Debian Developers could put a face to the name.

Why am I running for DPL?

Every year each DPL candidate enumerates the problems with Debian and puts forward grand solutions they promise to implement as DPL. Following each of these is usually a discussion pointing out that the DPL position doesn't really carry any direct powers and also that almost all of these solutions can be implemented just as easily by the average Debian Developer. In fact, the constitution says directly that the DPL should represent the project's views and not push their own agenda.

The DPL's primary function as I see it is to act as a figurehead—a single point of contact to present Debian to the outside world. Consequently, I see the most important qualities of a good project leader to be availability, written and spoken language skills, personality and experience being a Debian Developer.

I feel particular issues are best dealt with by developers closer to the problem or through the appointed committees and delegates. Amongst other things, I have a few ideas about how to improve communication within Debian and I will try to bring an attitude of tolerance and more efficient communication to the mailing lists. My hope is that this will allow the larger issues, such as freeness, to be dealt with more easily. In general however, I feel Debian mostly works and I am not running for DPL because I expect the position will grant me the authority to change it.

I am a reasonable public speaker who can communicate the processes, ideals and character of Debian to others. I am independent—I don't get involved in flame-wars, have not tied myself to any particular faction within Debian, nor do I work for a company with a significant interest in Debian. I get along easily with people and I have experience with the management of volunteer organisations.

In short, I am running for DPL because I believe I can do a great job.

But what do you think about … ?

Now having said that, I realise that you can't trust someone you can't predict and no-one is going to vote for someone they can't trust. So to provide some background, I'll discuss what I think about a few Debian issues. As I've pointed out above, I don't necessarily have good solutions to these and I certainly don't expect to use any DPL privileges to push any particular agenda. To make it clear that these should not be directly relevant to the DPL election, I've put them on a separate page. I'm happy to add or expand on anything there if anyone thinks my opinion would affect their vote.

I may not post to the Debian lists often, but I follow issues on Debian and SPI mailing lists and often discuss matters with other Debian developers over beers. If you look at the lively discussions on the Debian mailing lists, you'll see the same dozen or so names repeated again and again but you'll rarely see mine. I believe I am able to represent the “silent majority” of Debian developers, which follow a line somewhere in the middle, think Debian is generally on the right track and just want to get on with doing a good job.

Vote Angus Lees for DPL

Keeping in mind the realities of the DPL position, I hope you will vote based on ability and suitability and not simply familiarity.


It is interesting to note, that almost all the points raised in the platforms of other candidates and the questions being asked on debian-vote regard internal Debian issues. While it is great that these discussions are being held in such a constructive manner, it is unfortunate that a DPL election is seen as the venue in which to raise them. It is naive to hold to the notion that the candidate who proposed a solution is necessarily the best person to implement it. All the discussion and almost all the solutions do not benefit from DPL authority and could be implemented at any time, by any developer.

Deserving special mention, two of the candidates this year are members of the proposed “scud team”. At first glance, it seems a reasonable idea—teams have helped in other areas of Debian before. It does not take much thought, however, to realise that previous DPLs have never made decisions alone and the team has no actual benefit over existing practice. In fact, I worry that attempting to formalise this arrangement brings new problems, such as dispute resolution, unclear areas of responsibility, opaque team member selection processes and further separation between average developers and “management”. In short: with the scud team, there is a cabal.

The internal role of the DPL is very important but from the similarities of each candidate's platforms, we can see that identifying the key issues, such as communication and the sarge release is not really that hard. Assuming a calm, understanding and reasoned approach, the solutions are also reasonably straightforward and consistent. Unless you have reason to believe a particular candidate will have trouble working with other developers towards a solution, I do not think it is effective trying to compare candidates based on these issues.

A candidate's suitability for the external duties of the DPL is much harder to judge. The point has not been mentioned by other candidates, but as DPL I believe it is important to travel and introduce Debian to people outside the project. Unfortunately, it is very hard to predict how well a candidate will present themselves (and Debian) to others without having met them in person. Since this relies largely on personality and speaking ability, I am sorry I have no MIME-encodable evidence to present beyond stating that I believe I am suitable for these tasks and leaving the comparison between candidates to you.

In summary, when placing your vote I urge you to choose your DPL based on the intrinsic qualities of candidates, such as personality, independence and skill-set, rather than voting based on transient solutions to today's hot topics.