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LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 20, 2013
Pencil, Pencil, and Pencil
Dividing the Linux desktop
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
Gentoo debates recruitment schemes
Posted Jul 26, 2012 19:29 UTC (Thu) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
Serious, I am a bit surprised at the rules ppl have to go through in most distro's. I knew that debian, fedora and Ubuntu where full of committees and rules and such. But even Gentoo? Where did the fun go? This is mostly distributions, am I right? It isn't in GNOME/KDE, or most other projects, afaik What is it that made the other big distro's so bureaucratic? And what saved openSUSE?
Posted Jul 27, 2012 8:28 UTC (Fri) by anselm (subscriber, #2796)
You (or anyone) are perfectly welcome to contribute to Debian without having to become an official »maintainer«. You can create packages or in general do all sorts of things to help improve Debian. You only need to go through the new-maintainer process if you want to be trusted to upload packages directly into the distribution.
If you're not a Debian maintainer then your contributions will need to be reviewed by somebody who is before they can go into the distribution, but it seems to me that that is exactly what the original poster was asking for – so he should feel quite at home with Debian.
Posted Jul 28, 2012 7:08 UTC (Sat) by speedster1 (subscriber, #8143)
That is also possible with gentoo, where users team up with official developers on the proxy maintainer team and don't need to go through recruitment to contribute:
"What it takes to be a Proxied Maintainer
Posted Jul 30, 2012 10:46 UTC (Mon) by zack (subscriber, #7062)
It is indisputable that "quizzes" (an actual misnomer, as written in the article) and similar joining process tend to be more bureaucratic, one should investigate what are the reasons behind them. For instance, in the case of Debian, the reasons are quite profound and have been covered by an interesting paper by Biella Coleman, called "three ethical moments in Debian" (see e.g. https://lwn.net/Articles/149031/ ).
While you can get rid of most "quizzes" to verify technical abilities (like we've done in Debian, as observer by Ben Hutchings in the comments here), verifying alignment of visions and principles is a tad more tricky.
-- Stefano Zacchiroli
Posted Aug 2, 2012 4:09 UTC (Thu) by scientes (guest, #83068)
However the Web Archive has them.
Posted Sep 6, 2012 9:53 UTC (Thu) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
You are basically saying that the test Debian does, besides checking for technical abilities, tries to assess the social side of things: is there a cultural match.
While I understand (and agree with) the need for cultural compatibility between potential joinee and project, I'm not sure a 'test' helps much - if at all. Culture is conveyed and verified in social interactions, not written stuff, tests or bureaucracies. Written stuff can help, that's why organizations like KDE and GNOME and openSUSE and Debian and others have written down their philosophies and point folks there. But it is the day to day work in which you really 'learn the ropes'.
Before you give people commit access to the central repositories, a informal check 'around them' makes most sense - that's how KDE does it, GNOME too I believe. Likewise, openSUSE leaves such decisions to the teams maintaining parts of openSUSE (KDE, GNOME, etc) and we have a git-like branch/merge request system which kind'a negates the need for much more formality. I think that's a good approach: work around formality and bureaucracy in the tools. Once someone learns the tools and works with folks on getting packages in, build up relationships, and those folks around him/her decide to give him/her maintainership access to the shared pool of packages they maintain, I think the 'wider community' or 'project' has no business doubting their technical and cultural fit anymore.
For giving people formal influence, it makes sense to let them give some sign of support of the project philosophy - we let people sign the 'Guiding Principles' before they can join the openSUSE Membership. But we don't "test" their fit anymore, other than looking at their contributions: if you're accepted in the informal community processes, who are we to deny you access to the governance of the project? That would just serve to make the whole project become a stale, immovable, conservative object. Rings any bells?
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