March 23, 2002

Debian Project Leader candidates' debate log

Saturday afternoon saw a leadership debate among the candidates running for leadership of the Debian Project. The log follows.
<BenC> If I go to fast, message me directly, and I'll slow down
<BenC> You'll notice that only the candidates are voiced...this is to keep the noise level down.
<BenC> Let's begin...
<BenC> Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us for the Debian Project Leader
<BenC> Candidate Debate. My name is Ben Collins, and I am the current Debian
<BenC> Project Leader. I'll be your MC for this event.
<BenC> The current candidates (all of who did join us today) are as follows:
<BenC> Bdale Garbee
<BenC> Raphael Hertzog
<BenC> Branden Robinson
<BenC> Bdale is obvious, Overfiend is Branden, and buxy is Raphael
<Overfiend> Perhaps buxy and I should change our nicks to make things easier for non-IRC-regulars?
* bdale waves
<BenC> might be a good idea, just for this event
<Overfiend> Okay.
<BenC> make my log editing easier aswell :)
<BenC> excellent, thanks
<BenC> The candidates' current platforms are available at
<BenC> This debate is being logged. The log will be formated and posted after the
<BenC> debate to{txt,html}.
<bdale> with a name like bdale, who needs a nick?
<BenC> hehe
<BenC> There was a very limited response to the request for questions for this
<BenC> debate. We hope that this is because the candidates have done such a
<BenC> wonderful job of campaigning, rather than a lack of interest in the
<BenC> elections (I'm sure the former is the case :). All of the candidates have
<BenC> done a wonderful job this time around. Probably one of the most
<BenC> proffessional DPL elections I have seen.
<BenC> To start off, we will have a small set of questions directed at all three
<BenC> candidates. Each candidate will have 2 minutes to reply. After all the
<BenC> questions have been asked, each candidate will have an additional minute
<BenC> to rebut anything mentioned in this set.
<BenC> The second round will be questions directed at a particular candidate.
<BenC> Again, each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond. Once all the
<BenC> questions are completed, there will be an addition minute for each
<BenC> candidate to comment on the other candidates' responses.
<BenC> The third and final round will be questions from the participants in this
<BenC> debate today. During the debate you can email questions to
<BenC> These questions will then be filtered to the
<BenC> candidates. If you wish to remain anonymous, please note that in your
<BenC> email (otherwise, we will mention who the question came from). You can
<BenC> direct your question to any or all candidates. The questions can be new
<BenC> topics, or requests for clarifications on previously discussed topics from
<BenC> the debate.
<Branden> will you be going round-robin among the questions directed at specific candidates? E.g., one Q for Bdale, then one for Raphaël, then one for me?
<BenC> yes, there's actually only one for each of you
<BenC> which makes it simple :)
<bdale> k
<Branden> heh, serendipity
<BenC> The third and final round will be questions from the participants in this
<BenC> debate today. During the debate you can email questions to
<BenC> These questions will then be filtered to the
<BenC> candidates. If you wish to remain anonymous, please note that in your
<BenC> email (otherwise, we will mention who the question came from). You can
<BenC> direct your question to any or all candidates. The questions can be new
<BenC> topics, or requests for clarifications on previously discussed topics from
<BenC> the debate.
<Raphael> BenC: already pasted :-)
<BenC> oops...sorry about the duplicate
<BenC> To complete the event, each candidate will get 3 minutes to speak freely
<BenC> about anything they wish. Be this fellow candidate bashing,
<BenC> clarification, attempts to fix mistakes made in your previous answers, or
<BenC> just simple babbling :)
<Bdale> for consistency, I'll upcase my nick ... thanks Joy!
<Branden> BenC: I think that turnout in this channel should alleviate your fears about disinterest.
<BenC> Good luck to all the candidates. Now...let's get it on!
<BenC> Branden: agreed :)
* Bdale applauds Manoj for handling things so well to date
* Raphael as well
<BenC> I'll add further note...if the candidates could end their question time period with "*done*", that will help me mark the end (and stop the timer) more easily
* Branden too, of course. I'm sure we'll all be quite free with compliments. :)
<Branden> BenC: Acknowledged.
<Bdale> ok
<Raphael> ok
<BenC> *** Round 1 ***
* BenC rings the bell
<Branden> Send me in, coach, I'm ready for 'em. :)
<BenC> I'll ask the questions and then start each candidates time period with ": Go"
<BenC> there's no particular order...
<BenC> 1. Every platform spends a lot of time describing technical issues,
<BenC> improvements, or vision. However, the DPL is also the public face of
<BenC> Debian, and Debian suffers a lack of visibility compared to other
<BenC> distributions. Do you think this is a problem, and if so, what would you
<BenC> propose to do about it?
<BenC> Branden: Go
<Branden> I think it's less of a problem than something we should keep in mind.
<Branden> I discussed some of this in my reply to Anthony on -vote (stalled in murphy's queue).
<Branden> We have to accept the fact that we're not a company with an advertising budget, and thus is some way we will lag behind other distros in publiclity.
<Branden> Where I'd like to combat that is by being a visible leader, ensuring our presence at technical conferences and trade shows...
<Branden> ...and, of course, by doing whatever we can to drive adoption of Debian as a technology platform for third parties. Universities, government, corporations.
<Branden> *done*
<BenC> *time*
<BenC> Bdale: Go
<Bdale> I hear way too often from my company's field and marketing folks that none of our customers ever *ask* for Debian when asked about distributions.
<Bdale> I think that only a part of that is a visibility issue, but anything we can do to increase our visibility in a positive way will help.
<Bdale> As DPL, the two things I think I could do are to be very visible at events talking up Debian, and working to help cajole more people
<Bdale> to write and submit talks to conferences.
<Bdale> done
<BenC> Raphael: Go
<Raphael> I think it's something that we have to improve. While we are well known in the free software world, we still have to make efforts to be more visible to the rest of the humanity ;-)
<Raphael> I propose several ideas in my platform.
<BenC> Bdale Garbee
<BenC> Raphael Hertzog
<BenC> Branden Robinson
<BenC> The candidates' current platforms are available at
<BenC> debate to{txt,html}.
<BenC> These questions will then be filtered to the
<BenC> These questions will then be filtered to the
<Raphael> One is to build up on our user base in all the LUGs ... if we provide them the material they need tp make us know, it's a good start. :-)
<Raphael> For the details, you may want to check the platform again and since Joy asks me to not take too much time i won't paste them here :-)
<BenC> *time*
<Raphael> *done*
<Raphael> :)
<BenC> excellent :)
<BenC> 2. How strong do you consider the DPL's mandate to be? If people don't
<BenC> agree with some of your platforms - either the focus, or just the details
<BenC> - will it be just too late for them after you've been elected? How will
<BenC> you go about implementing any policies that there isn't already a clear
<BenC> consensus about?
<BenC> Bdale: Go
<Bdale> Our constitution provides the DPL the authority to make some kinds of decisions, but regardless of how strong a mandate the DPL thinks he has, most things that happen in Debian happen because groups of us agree that they are the right thing to do, not because one individual says "do this!".
<Bdale> I have always appreciated the chance to get inputs from other folks, and one of the reasons I spend so much time reading our lists, hanging out on IRC, and trying to get myself to public events that other Debian folks are attending is that I think that only by melding
<Bdale> the best ideas from everyone will we really be able to move forward and get things done that will help ensure Debian's future.
<Bdale> I see good ideas in all three platforms this year, for example, and have already stated that I hope many of them get worked on regardless of who "wins" this race.
<Bdale> done
<BenC> Raphael: Go
<Raphael> The DPL is elected and as such the "mandate" is quite strong given the number of debian developers and given the "high profile" we have ... my projects are never decided once for ever, everybody may give feedback and they may all be adjusted.
<Raphael> I don't have any general policy for implementing the project, I feel that everything that goes in the "right way" is always decided by consensus
<Raphael> given the feedback i have gotten on y projects, i'm quite confident most of them can be achieved.
<Raphael> s/y/my/
<Raphael> *done*
<BenC> Branden: Go
<Branden> I think it would be a mistake to regard the election of a particular candidate as a comprehensive endorsement of every plank of his platform. Still, the two are likely correlated in some fashion. So, as per my strong emphasis on delegation in my platform, I think it will be easy for me determine how much enthusiasm there is for each of my initiatives when people volunteer -- or don't -- for each of the tasks I've outlined.
<Branden> Where there is strong resistance, I will not attempt to impose my personal agendas on the project. The Leader's role is to reflect the membership, not steer it where it doesn't want to go.
<Branden> Besides, the DPL will be more efficient in accomplishing that which people actually want to do. :)
<Branden> *done*
<BenC> Excellent...
<BenC> I've been asked that the candidates please try to use a persons real name when reference someone (as opposed to their nick)
<BenC> I've also been asked to give more time for the first person answering the question, which I'll do
<Branden> an extra minute would seem fair
<BenC> (IOW, more time till I start them up :)
<Bdale> that would be good
<Raphael> agreed
<Branden> I hadn't noticed any nicks being used yet...was that a pre-emptive request?
<BenC> Not sure, I honestly haven't been reading the replies :)
<Branden> Oh, I probably said "aj"
<Branden> Sorry. Anthony Towns. :)
<BenC> Ok, continuing on...
<BenC> 3. As DPL, is there anything in particular you will do to help either of
<BenC> the other candidates to work on items in their platforms? Have any of the
<BenC> other candidates' platforms given you ideas and/or viewpoints that you
<BenC> would have otherwise not had?
<BenC> Raphael: Go
<Raphael> Given the lentgth of my platform, I have many projects in common with the other candidates. :-)
<Raphael> Yes, I believe they have good projects that I'm not personnaly interested but that i'd like to see implemented.
<Raphael> And I'll do whatever I can to help them get through.
<Raphael> For example, I do like the "Universal OS" view of bdale.
<Raphael> done
<BenC> Branden: Go
<Branden> There does appear to be a lot of consonance between the platforms.
<Branden> I think this indicates a strong consensus about where exactly Debian needs work.
<Branden> I think Bdale shows strong ability as a technical leader and I'd like to give him the chance to pursue some of his goals.
<Branden> Particularly regarding infrastructure management.
<Branden> And, of course, Raphaël's "sourceforge"-style idea has many merits.
<Branden> I see no reason not to delegate postitions to these gentlemen.
<Branden> *done*
<BenC> Bdale: Go
<Bdale> There are a couple ways that the DPL can lend support to an effort. There is One is the "rubber stamp" of official delegation.
cdlu->electricelf <Branden> I think Bdale shows strong ability as a technical leader and I'd like to give him the chance to pursue
<Bdale> The DPL can take an idea to heart and start talking it up in various forums.
<Bdale> And despite Branden's assertions to the contrary, I think that sometimes a leader *does* have the ability to direct effort even in an all-volunteer group.
<Bdale> Many folks have indicated to me at one time or another that they'd like to help Debian, but don't know what to work on, and don't see a package that they want to maintain that isn't already taken care of.
cdlu->electricelf <Bdale> And despite Branden's assertions to the contrary, I think that sometimes a leader *does* have the ability to
<BenC> *time*
<Bdale> This represents a real opportunity to direct energy towards projects that make sense... and Branden and Raphael both have some in their platforms...
<Bdale> done
<BenC> BTW, I am getting a good response for the third part of the debate. Just a note, there will be a 10-15 minute intermission after the second part so I can compile the questions for the third part.
<Bdale> good... I can check in on the hockey game. :-)
<BenC> Good, let me know how it is going :)
<Bdale> I'm told scoreless late in the second.
<BenC> 4. Currently we have a system in place to automatically track a Debian
<BenC> developer's activity within the project. In other words, we can tell when
<BenC> a Developer is MIA. What, if anything, do you propose we do about
<BenC> extremely inactive maintainers?
<BenC> (last question of this round, btw)
<BenC> Branden: Go
<Branden> I addressed this issue pretty directly in my platform.
<Branden> I think we need to thank such individuals for their efforts, move their keys to an "Emeritus" keyring, deactivate their accounts, and reassign their packages (if any) to WNPP.
<Branden> Rather than take up more time, I'll direct people to my platform for more details. :)
<Branden> *done*
<BenC> thanks :)
<BenC> Bdale: Go
<Bdale> Some good ideas have been presented about how to ensure that our project isn't held up by the inaction of maintainers who are no longer active. I will support them as long as they are appropriately respectful of maintainer's prior contributions.
<Bdale> On the other hand, I think it's worth trying to focus on the real problem, which is making sure that bugs in our packages are getting fixed in a timely fashion, RC or otherwise.
<Bdale> There has been discussion around whether Anthony's ruleset for NMU's and the introduction of the time-delayed queues doesn't allow for other ways to work on this problem regardless of how successful
<Bdale> the cleanup of inactive maintainers is, and I'd like to see continuing thought in that area too.
<BenC> *time*
<Bdale> The key is having high quality package contents that we can release on a predictable schedule...
<Bdale> done
<BenC> Bdale: you must be synced in to my clock :)
<Bdale> nah, just lucky I guess
<Branden> of course, you're both synced to the hockey game ;-)
* Bdale notes that 2 minutes per question does kind of feel like a minor penalty... :-
<BenC> Raphael: Go
<Raphael> We don't have any "official" system, we have various stats compiled by several developers and we have the MIA database maintained by Martin Michlmayr which is alimented by mail. He sometimes contact maintainers who never responded since a long time. This is a good start but we doesn't detect all MIA maintainers ... I believe we should extend it to include all MIA maintainers and we have to create that "emeritus" state we're speaking about
<Raphael> for ages. :)
<Raphael> But we have a good base to start the work. More NMU means more people who can detect MIA maintainers and so on ... i'm quite happy with how things are going on.
<Raphael> We have to document how to react with MIA maintainer...
<Raphael> how to deal with, that is
<Raphael> done
<BenC> Great. That concludes round 1.
* Branden re-tapes his hands and guzzles Gatorade
<BenC> Now, round 2. This round is a direct question for each candidate. To be honest, I almost skipped this because the questions (especially Branden's :) were not very new, and are probably covered already. However, I think that this may be the best opportunity for most people to hear it directly.
<Branden> BenC: oh, you spoiled the surprise for me; now I can guess what it is. :)
<BenC> Oh wait. Someone reminded me about the 1 minute free speak for each candidate. That will actually conclude round 1.
<BenC> Do any of the candidates need this minute to recap the first round?
* Bdale reads scrollback
<Branden> I'd appreciate the opportunity.
<BenC> Branden: Ok, I'll let you go first, so the other candidates can recheck things. GO ahead, one minute.
<Branden> I think Bdale may have inadvertently mischaracterized a couple of my
<Branden> positions. I do in fact feel that the leader has the ability to direct
<Branden> effort in an all-volunteer group; if I didn't feel that way, I wouldn't be
<Branden> running. The DPL does have some "moral authority" and influence, just by
<Branden> virtue of being able to identify priorities and by being able to propose
<Branden> delegate status for various tasks. That power should not be discounted.
<Branden> Also, I disagree with Bdale that package quality is the only thing that can suffer due to maintainer inactivity.
<Branden> It can also damage our internal procedures by messing with our Standard Resolution Procedure.
<BenC> *time*
<Branden> I am just as concerned with preserving Debian's social structure as its technical quality.
<Branden> *done*
<Branden> whoops, I pulled a Bdale :)
* Bdale hopes he never pulls a Branden...
<BenC> lol
<Bdale> BenC: so, I should probably reply to that.
<Branden> Me too, I don't like having my hair pulled. :)
<BenC> Raphael: You haven't spoken up yet. Would you like to respond aswell?
<Raphael> No, thanks. Im' quite happy with what has been said.
<BenC> Very good, then.
<BenC> Bdale: OK, begin. One minute
<Bdale> I never said that package quality was the only thing that suffers, but I stated in my platform and will say again that our quality is one of, if not the, most important things we have to offer.
<Bdale> I also think Branden's point about the SRP being degraded by inactive maintainers is a red herring, as the drafters of our constitution went to great lengths
<Bdale> to ensure that the processes would work well in the face of inactivity on the part of a great many of our participants.
<BenC> *time*
<Bdale> k
<Bdale> done
<Branden> Do I get another rebuttal? :)
<BenC> At the end, you get three whole minutes :)
<Branden> BenC: you know you want to be Jerry Springer. :)
* BenC pushes the candidates back to their corners
<BenC> Don't make me get out the Bouncers :)
<BenC> Ok, now on to round 2.
<BenC> First will be Bdale. I'll paste the question, give you a minute to read it, and then give you two minutes for a response.
<Bdale> ok
<BenC> Q: Currently one of your biggest pros as a candidate is your work with Linux at HP. Any idea how the HP/Compaq deal will affect you and your work on Linux?
<BenC> Bdale: Go
<Bdale> In a word, "no".
<Bdale> Since the vote hasn't been officially confirmed yet, we don't actually know what the future holds, and nobody up our management chains will be able to say anything until the merger is official.
<Bdale> Having said that, I think that while my employment situation brings value to Debian, it's only one of many things in my experience and abilities that qualify me as the best candidate for this job.
<Bdale> I direct folks to my platform from last year for more information about my background, and to the -vote list for lots of good q&a this year that might help fill in gaps.
<BenC> *time*
<Bdale> Everything I'm hearing, though, suggests that the merger will be good for the Linux Systems Operation. So, I hope this makes things better, not worse.
<Bdale> done
<Branden> welcome, lilo
<BenC> Raphael: Your up next. Again, I will paste the question, give you time to read it, and start you off with two minutes to respond.
<Raphael> ok
* lilo waves
* Raphael waits for the question, and fears a bit a lag ...
<BenC> Raphael: I'd like to preface this question by saying that I'm not exactly sure what was the intended response, but it's the only real question I got for you :)
<Raphael> lol
<BenC> Q: How will you recruit more developers from non-western countries?
<BenC> Raphael: Go
<Raphael> Well ... it's not a generic item in my program.
<Raphael> I guess it's part of the "communication effort".
<Raphael> If we want to me more popular in the arabic world, or in the asiatic world, we need to have more developers from these countries.
<Raphael> And for that we have to help them in the promotion of Debian.
<BenC> *time*
<Raphael> And we come back to the "communication" projects of my platform. :)
<Raphael> *done*
<BenC> About as good a response to that question as I can expect, thanks :)
<BenC> Branden: You're up now. As before, I'll paste, give you a chance to read, and start you off with two minutes.
<Branden> Well, he could have promised to hire press gangs to capture non-Western developers on the high seas and put them work on the Great Ship Debian. :)
<BenC> hehe
<Branden> sorry, I was having a flashback to the War of 1812
<Branden> BenC: hit me with that question, I'm ready :)
<BenC> (sort of lengthy)
<BenC> Q: In the past one of your manifest qualities have been ad hominem
<BenC> attacks on people who you were disagreeing with and very sharp comments on
<BenC> subjects on which you had a different opinion.
<BenC> This quality has a contrary effect on "integration" and also on
<BenC> "representation" where some level of diplomacy is required.
<BenC> Are you aware of this problem? And if so, what will you do about it?
<BenC> This quality has a contrary effect on "integration" and also on
<BenC> "representation" where some level of diplomacy is required.
<Branden> Okay. I don't think I'm particularly more prone to using "bad" debate tactics than any particular person who has already held the position of Debian Project Leader.
<BenC> Branden: Go
<Branden> I addressed this issue at quite a bit of length on the -vote mailing list. It's one of the side effects of having a provocative IRC nick like "Overfiend", I suppose. People are prone to expect you to live up to the name. :)
<Branden> I can't think of anybody I'm not willing to have a rational conversation with. As DPL, you can count on me to exhibit the same levels of courtesy and professionalism I have exhibited as SPI Treasurer, and, indeed, in most of my casual communications as a regular Developer.
<Branden> Maybe I'm just too good at making memorable jokes. ;-)
<Branden> *done*
<BenC> Ok. That concludes the questions for round two. Do any of the candidates need a minute to rebut a response from another candidate?
<Branden> BenC: should the scope of rebuttal be limited to round 2?
<BenC> Yes
<Branden> If so, I have no need to rebut Bdale's or Raphaël's remarks this round.
<BenC> THe final three minutes can be more global in scope
<Bdale> ditto
<BenC> Raphael?
<Raphael> BenC: i want to use my minute yes :)
<BenC> Ok. Start anytime.
<Raphael> Thnaks. I don't see why the question was directed directly to me, so I had troubles to decide of what to say and reacted like a generic question ...
<Raphael> That might be related to the fact that BenC was still looking for the question, 30 minutes before the debate. :)
<BenC> :)
<Raphael> So if you want to ask other questions directly related to me, feel free ...
<Raphael> done
<BenC> I appreciate the response, and I will admit that the question was not as good as I would have liked.
<Raphael> Not a big deal for me, but I wanted to take the opportunity to precise it :)
<BenC> Alright. This concludes round 2. As mentioned there will be a 15 minute intermission so that I can compile the 3 round questions out of my full inbox (not to mention smoke a quick ciggarette). Anyone wishing to discuss the debate is welcome to join #debian-debate-commentary
<Bdale> BenC: any idea how much longer you want to run?
<Branden> BenC: yes, I had a question about time as well. Each question takes something like 5 minutes, or closer to 10 if all candidates get to reply.
<BenC> Bdale Three questions for round 3, and thent he final 3 minutes per candidate
<Branden> so ~1 more hour, you think?
<BenC> I appologize for this taking longer than expected.
<BenC> Yes, that sounds about right. I can cut round 3 down to 2 questions, if that's ok
<Bdale> s'ok. I can live with another hour, have a family commitment later this evening, though.
<BenC> Bdale: BTW, tell your daughter I said Happy Birthday :)
<BenC> *intermission music starting*
<Branden> BenC: let's see how it goes. Maybe cutting a question won't turn out to be necessay
* Branden goes to fetch more caffeine
<BenC> Ok, I'm ready to begin
<BenC> Are the candidates ready aswell?
<Bdale> yep
* Branden is here and ready.
<Raphael> same for me
<BenC> Ok. Well, I had a lot of good questions emailed to me during the first two rounds. Aside from the "what editor do they use", "how much alcohol can they consume" and "do they pet their tama regularly", some of them were very on target :)
* Branden laughs
<Branden> Pitr_: I guess I can tell you privately, if you want... ;-)
<BenC> I want to start off this round with a question from myself. As the current DPL for the past year, I've had some insight, and some revelations about what the Project Leader role is about (granted, this is a bit biased).
<BenC> Each one of you will have a chance to answer.
<BenC> As the prior DPL, I can say that much of the work that goes on in
<BenC> Debian (Probably 99.99%) occurs without any DPL intervention what so ever.
<BenC> In fact, I'd hazard that Debian would be just fine without a DPL, for the
<BenC> most part. It seems that the position has been more of one to provide a
<BenC> regulatory service. In other words, prevent Debian from breaking itself
<BenC> into tiny pieces, by virtue of the presence of the DPL. The few things
<BenC> that do occur as a result of the DPL are usually on a larger scale, and
<BenC> are generally done mostly by other people under the delegation of the DPL,
<BenC> rather than by the DPL himself.
<BenC> What would you, as DPL, do to make the Project Leader position more of a
<BenC> proactive one, given the actual limitations in the DPL's power (which is
<BenC> technically next to nil, despite common assumptions to the contrary)?
<BenC> Raphael: Give that I owe you (for my crappy direct question :), I'll give you a chance to start this one off. Let me know when you are ready (it's a long question)
<Raphael> Ready. :) DPL power isn't next to nil ... the election grants him enough "power" to be able to initiate any required projects.
<Raphael> I completely agree with the fact to the DPL job needs to be a proactive job.
<Raphael> In fact, all the platforms we have written identify problems and suggest solutions.
<Raphael> And the election gives us more opportunity to bring them through.
<Raphael> I also believe to be able to listen to everything that DD have to say to me ...
<BenC> *time*
<Raphael> Ok, done then. :o)
<BenC> :)
<BenC> Bdale: You're up. Go
<Bdale> I touched on this in my response to Anthony's lengthy but thoughtful set of questions on -vote...
<Bdale> The key to getting my goals accomplished will be doing a good enough job
<Bdale> explaining my ideas and showing how they align with our long-term vision,
<Bdale> that others are motivated to go out and do the work required to make them
<Bdale> happen.
<Bdale> This is largely a communication issue.
<BenC> *time*
<Bdale> Being proactive to me means being "out there" and "available" to hear about the good ideas developers have, think about them, look for the ones that could really help, and lend the kind of support to the good ones that we've already talked about
<Bdale> how the DPL can do.
<Bdale> done.
<BenC> Branden: And to round it off, your turn: Go
<Branden> In large part, the DPL serves as a figurehead, as Debian's external face to
<Branden> the world. I feel I am representative of the majority of Debian
<Branden> developers, and hold dear the same goals that we all share collectively.
<Branden> I am always ready to evangelize Debian to the rest of the world, and to try
<Branden> and get people to share my enthusiasm for our endeavor.
<Branden> I concur, Ben, with your assessment of how vital the DPL is to the Project internally.
<Branden> Indeed, most of the work would happen anyway, but that 0.01% is more important than it seems numerically. :)
<Branden> The DPL gives the buck a place to stop, as Harry Truman would say. I am willing and able to accept that responsibility.
<Branden> *done*
<BenC> Excellent reponses.
<BenC> Two more questions, and we'll wrap this up. I did not note who sent the questions because of time limitations getting them together:
<BenC> This next question is concerning a US bill that may soon become law. It does not apply to non-US folks now, but as we all saw with UCITA, it can spread like a virus. If any of the candidates need clarification on what this question refers to, let me know:
<BenC> If Sen. Holling's CBDTPA bill was passed, how would you deal with this
<BenC> crisis? Do you think it would change how you lead Debian? What would you
<BenC> do to ensure compliance with the act?
<Raphael> BenC: While I have heard about this in Linux Weekly News I haven't followed in details ..
<BenC> (If I'm not mistaken, this bill requires Copyright enforcement mechanisms to be placed in all electronic equipment)
<Branden> BenC: You're not mistaken.
<BenC> for reference
<Branden> The entire text of the bill in its current form is quite a bit for people unfamiliar with it to digest.
<BenC> to give Raphael a fair chance, I'll let him look over the URL and perpare for comments.
<BenC> Ok...would it be fair to say that this is not a fair question? :)
<BenC> I have many others...
<Branden> I think Raphaël may be at an unfair disadvantage.
<Bdale> I don't think it's going to show much differentiation between candidates.
<Raphael> Well, anyway my response wouldn't be UCITA-specific. :)
<Branden> Bdale makes a good point. I think we all probably see this bill as a serious threat to the entire Free Software community.
<BenC> ok...I'll move on... :)
<Bdale> it's EVIL
<BenC> Bdale: in a word, that is a good response
<BenC> Here we go:
<BenC> Back in Bruce Perens' day, one of the ideas he was pushing for was for
<BenC> Debian to become a base for building more specialized distributions on.
<BenC> (Maybe even *the* Linux Standard Base) As it turn out more distributions
<BenC> are built on top of Red Hat and the LSB has turned into something else
<BenC> altogether. Do you think Bruces' ideas is still a worthwhile goal? Why
<BenC> or why not? If you think it is, what needs to be done to achieve it?
<BenC> Branden: Let's start with you. Go:
<Branden> It's true a lot of distributions are built on Red Hat, but a lot of essentially forked it incompatibly.
<Branden> I think the graver concern is those who are not producing distros per se, like ISV's.
<Branden> I think Bruce's idea was a very good one, and that Debian is still very well suited to it.
<Branden> To plug a project of my own, pgi makes this sort of thing pretty easy.
<Branden> But debootstrap deserves a lot of credit for that, as well.
<Branden> I do think we should support the LSB as far as we can, though.
<Branden> I think I'm about to over my time, so I'll *done*
<BenC> Raphael: Go
<Raphael> Yes, Bruce's goal is still a worhtwile goal. It's very related to the "Universal OS" vision I share with Bdale. But instead of a "base" distribution we're more a super-distribution from which you can build a derived distribution by using just a subset of it.
<Raphael> We have tools to make that easy and it will probably be even easier in the future with debian-installer and its modular design.
<Raphael> Concerning the LSB, we should of course continue our proactive work despite the problems we faced.
<BenC> *time*
<Raphael> done
<BenC> Bdale: Go
<Bdale> Raphael saves me some time by explaining the concept of "flavors" that I
<Bdale> injected into the project at the same time we first talked about package
<Bdale> pools. Debian can be a superset, and targetted audiences can choose a proper
<Bdale> subset to focus on for their needs.
<Bdale> Amusingly enough, what brought Bruce Perens to Debian initially was his search
<Bdale> for something to base his "Debian for Hams" project on. I had the realization
<Bdale> recently that the work I've been doing for HP, that Branden and others are
<Bdale> doing on Progeny, and our adoption of pools make that much easier to think
<Bdale> about now than it was then... and I'm actually talking to some ham radio
<Bdale> friends about actually finally attempting it!
<Bdale> I talked in my platform about how important the LSB is to helping enable use of Debian by communities that we are not attractive to today.
<Bdale> Whether we will ever be perceived as the right "base" for someone to build a commercial distribution on is mostly out of our control... but we could certainly make a big impression of debian-jr, debian-med, and debian-hams all end up being publicly visible and popular "flavors" of Debian.
<Bdale> done
<BenC> Ok, last question.
<Bdale> s/Debian for Hams/Linux for Hams/
<Bdale> s/on Progeny/on pgi/
<BenC> Ok, well it seems I don't have another suitable question.
<Bdale> s/of debian-jr/if debian-jr/
<BenC> The one I was going to use touches on a non-public subject.
<Branden> There are always the goofy ones, Ben. :)
<Branden> BenC: you could post it to -private, and the candidates could reply there via email.
<BenC> Ok. Quickly then: Editor, Windowmanager, Shell, Favorite Drink :)
<Bdale> emacs20 and nvi interchangeably, sawfish, bash, Diet Pepsi
<Branden> vim, fvwm2/kwm, tcsh/bash (zsh acolytes are trying to convert me), (alcoholic drink?) White Russian
<Raphael> vim, sawfish, bash, Oasis (fruit juice)
<BenC> Ok, well my vote just changed :)
* Branden is drinking Diet Coke right now, so I'm not boozing during the debate. :)
<Branden> I'll save that for after the election results are announced. ;-)
<Branden> no matter which way it goes ;-)
<BenC> Alright, we'll close this off quickly with the 3 minute free speak.
<BenC> Anyone prefer to go first?
<BenC> Alright then, I'll puck a sucker^Wlucky person
<BenC> Bdale: My magic eightball says you are the perfect person to start this off. Three minutes, speak about anything.
<Bdale> Each of the candidates this year has already brought value to our project
<Bdale> through various contributions. A forum like this debate may serve to highlight
<Bdale> the differences between us, but I see more commonality of belief than
<Bdale> disagreement. This is as it should be, since as I pointed out in my platform
<Bdale> one of the great strenghts of Debian is that we share strong values. Frankly,
<Bdale> I look forward to continuing to work with Branden and Raphael to make Debian
<Bdale> better regardless of how this vote turns out.
<Bdale> So how should you vote?
<Bdale> The question I think this election should be decided on is who among the
<Bdale> candidates you think will provide the greatest inspiration and motivation to
<Bdale> our project. That's what true leadership is all about.
<Bdale> I believe I am that person.
<Bdale> Working on Debian is my way of expressing my most strongly held beliefs
<Bdale> about freedom, choice, quality, and utility.
<Bdale> I have been quietly but consistently making things happen for Debian since
<Bdale> 1995. Some very fundamental ideas in our infrastructure came from me.
<Bdale> I have brought many people and other resources to the project, and have
<Bdale> spoken on Debian's behalf numerous times to a wide variety of listeners in
<Bdale> many different venues, with some very positive results.
<Bdale> I'd like to take my advocacy to the next level, by serving as your DPL.
<Bdale> I hope you want to join me in making our vision of Debian as a Universal
<Bdale> Operating System a reality!
<Bdale> Thanks to everyone here for your time, your interest, and your vote!
<Bdale> done
<BenC> Raphael: The wizards say you have the ability to go next. Three minutes.
<Raphael> I'd like to thank everybody for this debate. I also
<Raphael> wish to apologize for the mistakes I made due to
<Raphael> the real time constraint (couldn't proofread myself) and
<Raphael> due to the fact that I'm a frenchie (ie non-native english
<Raphael> speaker). :-)
<Raphael> Whoever is elected, I'm sure Debian will do great things
<Raphael> this coming year. You can count on me whatever happens ...
<Raphael> but that's not a reason to not vote for me. :-)
<Raphael> Even if I'm quite young (the youngest candidate in fact), I have made significant work for Debian and I have the willness to do much more.
<Raphael> If you are not convinced yet, ask me questions by private mail ;-)
<Raphael> done
<Raphael> s/not convinced yet/not yet convinced/ btw
<BenC> Branden: By virtue of being the only one left, you may go next :) Three minutes
<Branden> Okay.
<Branden> Debian is much more than just a product for other people to
<Branden> leverage. Debian is an organization dedicated to its users
<Branden> and to Free Software. As a cooperative, volunteer effort,
<Branden> we owe each other support and respect, and dedication to the
<Branden> Project as a whole. That means giving credit to each other
<Branden> where credit is due, and sometimes it means persuading
<Branden> fellow developers that they're headed down a bad technical
<Branden> path. The latter task is never fun, but it is sometimes
<Branden> necessary. None of us are omniscient or perfect. Above
<Branden> all, Debian must not subordinate itself to the needs of an
<Branden> external entity. We will not keep our volunteers if we rob
<Branden> them of the environment that makes it pleasurable, fun, and
<Branden> rewarding to participate.
<Branden> I do not think my enthusaism for and dedication to Debian
<Branden> can reasonably be questioned. I've been an active developer
<Branden> for four straight years. I've worked on Debian when I was a
<Branden> student, when I was unemployed, when I was employed in a job
<Branden> that had nothing to do with Debian, and presently, where I
<Branden> have a job making Debian better. My passion for our Project
<Branden> is easily seen in my work, and in my interactions with other
<Branden> Developers, and with people outside our Project. I think I
<Branden> am ideally suited to serve you as Debian Project Leader,
<Branden> because my confidence in our Project is unshakeable.
<Branden> A few people have expressed concern about my "aggressive"
<Branden> tactics in the occasional email dispute. I reiterate that I
<Branden> don't think I am unusual in this regard. In fact, my
<Branden> passion for Debian, and for finding the Right Solution to a
<Branden> given problem is, I think, a strength. You can count on me
<Branden> to tenaciously pursue Debian's interests, and to not shirk
<Branden> from from defending our ideals and principles. And you need
<Branden> not fear that I can handle even hostility with courtesy and
<Branden> diplomacy. See, for instance, this exchange with a person
<Branden> who might not ever have heard of Debian before, and yet was
<Branden> pretty dismissive of our Free Software principles:
<Branden> In short, my devotion and dedication, which sometimes
<Branden> manifest themselves in vigorous debate, are strengths of
<Branden> mine, and I promise to apply these strengths to my duties as
<Branden> Debian Project Leader. If you need further reassurance, I
<Branden> vow to keep that devotion within a velvet glove.
<Branden> Thanks for your time and attention, and I hope that after
<Branden> careful deliberation you agree with me that I am the best of
<Branden> an extremely good slate of candidates this year. I welcome
<Branden> any further questions you may have.
<Branden> *done*
* BenC recovers from the lag :)
<Branden> I'm glad I didn't get /kicked for flooding :)
* Branden thanks lilo
* Bdale agrees
* Raphael too
<BenC> That pretty much concludes our debate. Thanks again to all the candidates, and to OPN, aswell as to the folks who sent questions and attended. Hopefully we'll all be better able to make our decisions come vote time!
<lilo> BenC: a pleasure having you all!
<Branden> Thanks, everybody. Ben, Bdale, Raphaël, and audience.
<BenC> I'm going to forward all the questions I didn't use to -vote. Also, expect the IRC log within 12 hours.


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