My view on DPLship

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 03/09/2006 - 12:46
Several people's blogs have appeared recently in the planet with the different points of view on the different candidates and various rants regarding the DPL office - Well... This time I have not yet been able even to read the platforms of the different candidates (of course, I plan on doing it quite soon), but I follow the posts on the subject with interest. The most interesting post so far is Martin Michlmayr's - Of course, being an ex-DPL, there are important experiences he has that few people do. A couple of days ago I was talking with one of the candidates with whom I have talked and worked in the past. My main gripe with the whole process is that, although as a project we need a leader, an easily identifiable single contact person who knows the teams, knows the people and can speak on the project's behalf, I have not seen much being done by the past DPLs towards the inside of the project. Of course, it's easy to bitch around when I sit in the comfortable silent majority most of the time - Currently I am devoting quite less time and effort to Debian than what I should, although it is true that setting up Debconf6 in Oaxtepec takes a _lot_ of time and that it will facilitate much more interaction between Debian people (which is good for the project) than me working more and better on my packages and on doing interesting team work. Maybe something that would make me to vote for somebody, more than the most coherent and best written platforms, is for the candidate to admit the lack of importance of the role to most of the project - or to defend how to make it again a leadership position. Following Martin's post, maybe we do need a Bruce-like leader who tells us what to do and drives the project. Or maybe not, maybe we could do better with reducing the importance of the post towards the inside and emphasizing it's mostly a confidence vote for somebody to speak on behalf of us all. And even this would be difficult, as a sad flame in debian-private some months ago reminds us that nobody can speak on behalf os the whole project because somebody might be offended by the viewpoint taken by the official? I am no big believer in democracies. I do think that sticking to much to a democratic constitution (where democracies are very scarce in the Free Software world, where projects tend to have benevolent dictators grown by meritocracy instead of democratically elected) and allowing everybody to voice too much the same opinion in our regular flamewars has lead Debian to the communications swamp it is right now. We do have very effective small teams (quoting Andreas Schuldei' term for the phenomenon that seems to work best and appear naturally in our project), integration between teams is quite good... But having 1000+ people sitting in a big room and shouting at each other is plainly not fun. Maybe we should stop pretending that there is no cabal (forgod'ssake...) and admit that there is and it works, and we (the drones) implement Their decisions? Nah... That sounds it would only create more flamewars. But seriously: Towards the inside, do we need a leader? Have we ever used it?
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