dimanche 15 janvier 2017

Debian from 10,000 feet

Many of you are big fans of S.W.O.T analysis, I am sure of that! :-) Technical competence is our strongest suit, but we have reached a size and sphere of influence which requires an increase in organisation.

We all love our project and want to make sure Debian still shines in the next decades (and centuries!). One way to secure that goal is to identify elements/events/things which could put that goal at risk. To this end, we've organized a short S.W.O.T analysis session at DebConf16. Minutes of the meeting can be found here. I believe it is an interesting read and is useful for Debian old-timers as well as newcomers. It helps to convey a better understanding of the project's status. For each item, we've tried to identify an action.

Here are a few things we've worked on:
  • Identify new potential contributors by attending and speaking at conferences where Free and Open Sources software are still not very well-known, or where we have too few contributors.

    Each Debian developer is encouraged to identify events where we can promote FOSS and Debian. As DPL, I'd be happy to cover expenses to attend such events.
  • Our average age is also growing over the years. It is true that we could attract more new contributors than we already do.

    We can organize short internships. We should not wait for students to come to us. We can get in touch with universities and engineering schools and work together on a list of topics. It is easy and will give us the opportunity to reach out to more students.

    It is true that we have tried in the past to do that. We may organize a sprint with interested people and share our experience on trying to do internships on Debian-related subjects. If you have successfully done that in the past and managed to attract new contributors that way, please share your experience with us!

    If you see other ways to attract new contributors, please get in touch so that we can discuss!
  • Not easy to get started in the project.

    It could be argued that all the information is available, but rather than being easily findable from on starting point, it is scattered over several places (documentation on our website, wiki, metadata on bug reports, etc…).

    Fedora and Mozilla both worked on this subject and did build a nice web application to make this easier and nicer. The result of this is asknot-ng.

    A whatcanidofor.debian.org would be wonderful! Any takers? We can help by providing a virtual machine to build this. Being a DD is not mandatory. Everyone is welcome!
  • Cloud images for Debian.

    This is a very important point since cloud providers are now major distributions consumers. We have to ensure that Debian is correctly integrated in the cloud, without making compromises on our values and philosophy.

    I believe this item has been worked on during the last Debian Cloud sprint. I am looking forward to seeing the positive effects of this sprint in the long term. I believe it does help us to build a stronger relationship with cloud providers and gives us a nice opportunity to work with them on a shared set of goals!
During next DebConf, we can review the progress that has been made on each item and discuss new ones. In addition to this session acting as a health check, I see it as a way for the DPL to discuss, openly and publicly, about the important changes that should be implemented in the project and imagine together a better future.

In the meantime, everyone should feel free to pick one item from the list and work on it. :-)

mardi 17 mai 2016

Newmaint — Call for help

The process leading to acceptation of new Debian Maintainers is mainly administrative today and is handled by the Newmaint team. In order to simplify this process further, the team wants to integrate their workflow into nm.debian.org's interface so that prospective maintainers can send their application online and the Newmaint team review it from within the website.

We need your help to implement the missing pieces into nm.debian.org. It is written in Python and using Django. If you have some experience with that, you should definitely join the newmaint-site mailing list and ask for the details. Enrico or someone else in the list will do their best to share their vision and explain the needed work in order to get this properly implemented!

It doesn't matter if you're already a Debian Developer to be able to contribute to this project. Anyone can step up and help!

mercredi 13 avril 2016

2016 DPL election

It is time of the year where Debian project members should elect a new project leader. This year, only one candidate has stepped up, yours truly. As a reminder, my platform is published here. The campaign has been quite calm, comparing to past editions, which is not surprising given the number of candidates. There have been some interesting questions though as detailed below:
There are not many questions. It will take little time to read, if you haven't already.

Last but not least, please do vote! You have until 2016-04-16 23:59:59 UTC to vote (as announced here). It is very important to share your opinion and take part in the reflection around the future of the project. That every project member takes part in the evolutions that should be implemented to stay relevant and innovative in what we do.

vendredi 1 janvier 2016

In memoriam: Ian Murdock

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Ian Murdock. I have never had the chance to meet him. Several persons testify for his kindness and talent. We will always remember him. His legacy influences our lives everyday!

Looking at his latest blog posts, he seemed a bit nostalgic about Debian and still very proud of it.

Later, he wrote about how he came to find Linux and the importance of telling the story of hackers of his generation. In his memory, I'll reread Stephen Levy’s Hackers for the nth time too.

When (if?) his webserver will shut down, you will still be able to read his past blog posts using the archived version of his website or a static mirror that has been set up.

RIP Ian.

samedi 7 novembre 2015

3rd annual Aaron Swartz Day, November 7-8

This weekend is organized the Aaron Swartz Day across the world. There are events organized in many cities and video streams available. It is important that we remember Aaron's projects and fights. If you want to know more about Aaron Swartz, you may start by watching the excellent documentary The Internet's Own Boy : The Story of Aaron Swartz. His work was very inspirational and should not be forgotten!

lundi 13 avril 2015

DPL campaign 2015

This year's DPL campaign is over and voting period is also almost over. Many did not vote yet and they really should consider doing so. This is meant as a reminder for them. If you didn't have time to dig into debian-vote's archives and read questions/answers, here is the list with links to candidates' replies:
Compared to past years, we had a comparable number of questions. All questions did not start big threads as it used to be the case sometimes in the past :-) The good side of this is that we are trolling DPL candidates less than we used to do :-P

Now, if you still didn't vote, it is really time to do so. The voting period ends on Tuesday, April 14th, 23:59:59 UTC, 2015. You have only a few hours left!

dimanche 22 mars 2015

Running for DPL

Every year, Debian organizes a DPL election. Around end of March, one waits for the beginning of the DPL campaign. Everyone can ask questions to nominated candidates on debian-vote. This year, and for the first time, I nominated myself as a candidate for the 2015 DPL election. You can read my platform here.

Over the past few years, I've followed DPL campaigns on debian-vote reading questions and replies from candidates. It didn't seem easy to keep up with flood of questions and find the right wording while replying. Intuitively, you may think that a question is the first mail of every thread and replies follow... but, not at all :-) Questions can be asked in any mail. So candidates have to read every single mail posted to the list :-) The campaign ends within a week (or so) and it is still time to ask more questions.

Following discussions on debian-vote is a very good opportunity for newcomers to understand, for example, how Debian works and where help is needed. It is also a good place to see what are the main current issues (as perceived by contributors) and read a list of proposals to fix them. I invite anyone interested in Debian in reading debian-vote's archives.

While preparing my platform, I've also realized how much writing down thoughts and ideas was important. It really helps to put things into perspective and re-evaluate priorities. It may sound obvious but I think we are not used to do this often. I really recommend everyone to do this as an exercise, and for any perimeter (personal, team, project-wide, ...).

Last but not least, I'd like to thank all those who helped me to polish my platform and to prepare my candidacy. I am sure they will recognize themselves :-) (whatever the outcome of the election may be)