The third call for votes
has gone out for
this year's Debian Project Leader elections and the project secretary
reports a low ebb for voter participation. By this time next week a new
DPL will have been chosen. As the Debian developers muddle though their
decision, others ask why this
election is restricted to Debian Developers
. What about all the other
people who regularly contribute time and effort to the Debian project?
All Debian elections are open to the Developers, those people who have
their key on the official key ring. This makes validation of votes
easier. All votes must be signed by a key and if that key isn't on the
keyring, it doesn't count. Also the secretary can track who has voted and
make sure that each person's vote is counted only once. (It's possible to
change your vote by sending in an amended ballot, which then invalidates
the previous ballot.)
But the Debian Project continues to grow and part of that is an increasing
number of people who contribute to Debian without becoming Debian
Developers. They help out as translators, package maintainers, and other
places and they care about the issues. What they don't have is their key
on the keyring, so they can't vote.
Those people who are Debian Developers have worked hard to get there.
Voting is a privilege that they have earned. Still, it seems clear that
Debian cannot afford to disenfranchise the many others who contribute to
the project. As Benjamin
Mako Hill posted, "I'd like to see those who have made long-term,
sustained, and significant contributions to Debian enfranchised. That could
mean broadening the category of developer through changes to NM or it could
also mean another enfranchised category of contributor."
Perhaps it's time for a second keyring. One that doesn't give it's members
all the privileges of a Debian Developer (like access to the servers), but
shows that one has made a commitment to the project and deserves the right
to post comments)