Tales from the Gryphon/ archives/ 2006/

Tales from the Gryphon

Archives for 2006/01

Manoj's hackergotchi
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Monday 02 January
Link: In vain the sage with retrospective eye --Pope

Posted early Monday morning, January 2nd, 2006

In vain the sage with retrospective eye --Pope

It has been a tumultuous decade of involvement with Debian for me. I had been on the mailing list since mid 1994, but I was reasonably happy with my SLS system (installed using 40 floppies, including about a dozen for just X11 alone), and while I found Debian intriguing, I was not about to go through the pain of a brand new install until I felt that the new project was viable in the long term :-)

I actually jumped ship in the spring of '95 and installed 0.93R5. The next step came with Bug 1766, my very first bug report: Bug in script checksecurity in package cron, on 25 Oct 1995.

Once in, I rapidly went to the next phase: Here is the sum toto of the NM process I went through: my Hello, World mail. Those were the days :-). There was nothing between my ITP and the upload.

My first significant package was kernel-package, since I was always missing something in the series of steps needed to build a kernel, and I started getting into it in the summer of '96. This is where the second part of my apprenticeship started -- even though I had 3-4 packages in the archive, my kernel images were not yet trusted; so I sent my images to my sponsor (Hi Simon), who then uploaded the images to master.

Somewhat later, I also was involved in the early design stages of apt, and the dependency sorting algorithms.

While I was fairly silent during the whole DFSG/SC debates (to the extent I was labelled a mindless follower of Bruce --heh), I took an active part in the constitution debates (possibly due to the fallout of the beach story. Anyway, I seemed to want to get us a constitution, after it had seemed stalled for months.

It is interesting to note how the technical committee was initially setup, there was a proposal, and then Ian Jackson responded by saying he wanted to appoint the ctte members, since he had been around for a while and was also the DPL. The earliest data I can find is from June of '98, as seen in a mail later that year, when the initial list of committee members was created (I also seem to recall I was not on the list initially, but I was added in the early days, before the committee was actually formed).

I was interested in the technical policy fairly early, taking a stance that policy was more than just a bunch of ignorable guidelines. Eventually, a [thread that tried to reach a compromise][other] gave us something like the views we (well, I) hold today -- including what happens when packages do not follow policy, and about policy editors. And abuse of power. About this time, the policy Czar resigned, burned out, and hounded by accusations of delusion of power.

So I first proposed the whole policy editor and consensus approach to letting policy evolve, which eventually led to a formal delegation recently.

Brian Basset was our very first secretary. My first involvement with things that would lead on to the secretaries job started with trying to do voting for policy. Then, around 2000, our the secretary and treasurer Darren Benham went MIA, and Raul, as the chair of the technical committee, had to take over and run the DPL election for 2001 -- and forgot that DPL elections are supposed to be secret ballots. Ben Collins tapped me for the secretaries position mid-2001, as I recall.

It is hard, in a decade or so, to find anything I have not touched -- but NM is one such area. Apart from an early pre-current-NM mail, I have not been very involved in NM. Or the Debian installer. Or Debconf. Hmm. I seem to have drifted away from things that Joey Hess is involved in, which is a pity, he is high on the list of people I respect in the project, and this lack of interaction with as time goes on irks me.


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