Who I am

My name is Simon Richter, I'm currently 27 years old and have been active in the Debian project since about seven years. I have studied Informatics (think Computer Science with a theory focus), and am now studying Electrical Engineering parallel to my work as a programmer in the embedded systems field.

Why I am running for DPL

Debian has become a large project, which means that it is no longer possible for everyone to know everyone. As a result of that, subgroups are forming, both on geographical/language boundaries and within fields of interest. Usually, they all get along together well, unless there are conflicting goals or a (perceived) competition for some resource.

The most prominent examples are the release effort and dunc-tank. In the release process, there is a point where the testing distribution is frozen while the bleeding edge advances further. As we are nearing the release, some of the packages scheduled for release are significantly out of date, and the respective maintainers would prefer to bring these up to date, which of course is counterproductive from the release managers' and translators' point of view.

In the dunc-tank case, the main issue was not so much the idea of funding itself but rather the allocation of funds. In the general perception, the money was not earmarked at the beginning, so the decision to use it on the release seemed arbitrary, an impression further strengthened by the apparent lack of clear-cut evaluation methods. This led to a situation where some of the subgroups felt the need to show their worthiness, and given that money is a limited resource, relative to other groups.

I'm not absolutely against paying people for their work on Debian, however in order to avoid problems like the ones exhibited in the last year, I think any such endeavor must be started by entities truly external to Debian, and with clear goals that also explain why a particular group was favored in this round. As an example, I could see a hardware manufacturer sponsoring porters, or a company providing service contracts for an application paying the packagers.

To sum it up, most (if not all) of the problems Debian currently has are related to its size and the resultant lack of a common goal. The challenge will thus be bringing everybody back together, which is mostly an issue of group dynamics and less of a technical nature.

How I see the post of the DPL

The real power of the DPL is an informal one: the power to get everybody's attention. The leader is a first among equals, which makes every bit of communication stand out. The two main reasons for the big flamefests in Debian are the aforementioned competition scenarios and discussions where the opposing sides have a different background and fail to properly address the counterpoints that have been raised. At this point it would be beneficial to summarize the thread so far and point out where the misunderstanding may lie, and the person best suited for that is the DPL.