Wichert Akkerman's Opening Speech

Welcome to my opening speech / platform / boring rant. Since I'm not a politician or a skilled PR person, I didn't really know what to put in here. So I've written a short reflection on what has happened over the last year, and what I think will/should happen next year.

The past year has been good to us, although not without problems. More people noticed that Debian is a viable and high quality alternative to commercial distributions, and we have seem companies ranging from Storm to O'Reilly, from VA to Corel actively supporting Debian and basing products on it. We now have representatives in organizations like LSB, LPI and Linux International.

There have also been some less pleasant events: new maintainer has been closed for most of the year, the new release is taking longer then we hoped, and there have been some internal discussions as well. By now those problems have been or are being resolved, so we are in a good shape to continue. In the end we even got better: we now have a new system for new maintainer that can handle the higher number of people applying for maintainership as well as help them in the beginning. And we have learned a harsh lesson about the organizational structure in Debian. I'm quite sure that this won't be the last time we will be hit by unpleasant events though: Debian is continuously growing and changing, and we need to figure out how to handle that. Old structures and ideas will need to be revised, and new ones will arrive, and keeping up will require an effort from everyone involved.

So, what about the next year? It looks like this will be another exciting year. We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline: package pools, dpkg updates and debconf integration are already in the works.

With the growth of Debian we will have to refocus our efforts a bit though. Currently almost everyone focuses on packaging software. That is not good enough anymore, we also need to look at maintaining the quality of the distribution, its support, and dare I say it's marketing. There are already people working on that, but a lot more effort is needed. qa.debian.org is being reorganized, which is a good start. Nils Lohner is working on projects.debian.org, which will hopefully help us in managing various projects. We already have a small publicity group, but we need more people to help out by writing articles, giving speeches, ie spreading the word. We need to keep improving ourselves, and make sure that people know about us.

What is my motivation for wanting to be project leader for another year? There are several actually. First off I've enjoyed doing it for the last year. I also feel that I've just finished (most of) the learning curve for this task and can be more effective now: I have learned a lot about (and while) being project leader, and have met a lot of the people who make things happen in Linux, and with that experience I strongly feel I make a good candidate.