0th Debian Conference Summary
Jul 10, 2000, 20:36 (0 Talkback[s])
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Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 18:46:51 +0200
From: Nils Lohner email@example.com
Subject: 0th Debian Conference Summary
Debian Project News
0th Debian Conference Summary
July 11, 2000
[ This article was written by Marcelo Magallon firstname.lastname@example.org ]
The Zeroth Debian Conference which was organized and sponsored
by the Bourdeaux Linux User Group (ABUL, in French), took place
last week from July 5-9 2000 in Bourdeaux, France, in parallel with
the Libre Software Meeting.
During the conference many topics were presented
- two introductory talks about the GNU/Hurd given by Neal
Walfield and Richard M. Stallman
- an overview of Debian past and present
- a brief discussion about the new package format given by
- PingOO, a project to provide schools with communication
servers administered remotely by a distributed team based on Debian
- Package Pools overview presented by Anthony Towns
- Telemetry Software (remote management and diagnostics of
networks and servers) provided by SiteRock also based on Debian
- presentations and discussion about new maintainers and Debian
Two presentations about Debian's Internal Organization (presented
by Nils Lohner) and the New Maintainer process (presented by Dale
Scheetz) were presented together in one session. A lot of
discussion was encouraged in this session to get feedback from both
Debian developers and users to see how these issues are regarded
and how to improve the problems that are being faced in these
Dale pointed out that if Debian keeps growing at the same rate
as during the past five years there could be 1600 developers
maintaining 40000 packages by the year 2005. This makes clear that
Debian needs to present a clear organizational structure to
developers, would-be developers and users to allow people to become
familiar with Debian more quickly and allow them to help if they so
Nils suggested putting up Project Pages to present tasks that
need doing in Debian both for developers and non developers.
Several people at the conference manifested interest in the idea
and discussion will be taking place on the debian-qa mailing list.
The idea is to keep track of on-going projects within Debian in
terms of their existance and their current status, as well as
listing tasks that can be picked up by people.
To enable people to better understand Debian's oganization Nils
also suggested that people in Debian explain (one or two paragraphs
would suffice) what they are doing, so this information can be
collected and placed on the website. This would allow people who
have concerns or suggestions to immediately find the correct person
in Debian to talk to.
He also pointed that long term goals of Debian need to be both
as a project and as a distribution to ensure that Debian continues
to be a good distribution and continues its leadership in the free
Another point discussed was the need for getting people into
Debian for tasks other than maintaining packages such as writing
documentation and doing administrative work. One of the questions
left open was how to attract people to do that. A possible solution
to this would be to add these tasks to the proposed Project Pages.
It was mentioned that the name "Debian developer" and the fact that
Debian appears to be a "show me the code" organization scares these
potential helpers away.
The suggestion was made to package things such as documentation
and website source to enable more people to submit patches against
it. This would lower the amount of work put on the shoulders of the
webmasters and people in charge of the different sections.
Another solution proposed was to find sponsors to pay people to
work on Debian related tasks. This could help the project, but
first the work to be done must be clearly identified. The Project
Pages again could help in this regard.
At the end of this session everyone agreed that many of the
resource problems stem from not passing information around and/or
not having this information readly available to people both inside
and outside of the project. Debian needs to increase the level of
its internal organization to allow non developers to be able to
comment and contribute more easily and to enable new maintainers to
more quickly understand the current organization.
All in all the meetings were very interesting for everyone
attending the conference. Many of the developers had a chance to
meet face to face for the first time and exchange ideas regarding
many aspects of the project.
This conference will likely be held again next year. Bordeaux
will be the site to host it again as there was an excellent
infrastructure (accomodations, meals, conference rooms, net access,
etc.) and this year's conference was a success even though the
organization was done in three months. With more time to organize
next year's conference more developers should be able to attend and
a more diverse program of presentations and round table discussions
should be possible.
Debian would like to thank Thierry Laronde for organizing this
event. Great work!
Nils Lohner E-Mail: email@example.com
Debian Press Team Press: firstname.lastname@example.org