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. :-)

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