Debian infrastructure teams needing you -- yes, actually you

Andreas Tille andreas at
Fri Sep 13 11:20:25 UTC 2013


in Debian we have some infrastructure projects which to my perception are
quite important because they are:

  1. directly visible for the user
  2. globally needed for all packages

I'm personally speaking about I18N and DebTags - may be there are more.
After some observation I came to the conclusion that due to a flow of
manpower both projects lost some part of the momentum they had before
and I wonder if nobody would like to join these teams.  IMHO the
advantage to start contributing to Debian in teams like this is that you
not necessarily need to have high technical skills but there are nice
ways to contribute with communication and classification tasks.  This
could be a fascinating way to dive into the Debian universe from a pure
users perspective and dedicate some time to Debian that it will remain
your favourite distribution also in the long term future.

Why do I think that the teams need help?

1. I18N

The team is responsible for all those users out there who do not
understand English necessarily enough to make the best out of Debian.
While it is probably not you when reading this mail - it is the majority
of the world population anyway.  So we should care and the I18N team has
done an amazing job.  Christian Perrier had a lot of talks with pure
success stories colouring the world map more and more with countries
that at least for some languages spoken there covered by the Debian
installer.  And speaking about talks:  Christian will tell you more
precisely like I could do in how many countries he was invited to talk
to people.  So if you like to travel around the world - the Debian I18N
team could provide some options for you. ;-)

Unfortunately several people left the team for different reasons which
even becomes visible on the teammetrics graph[1].  It somehow looks like
the-bubulle-list but please have a second look at the years 2006 to 2009
when there was a quite colourful baseline of people who were doing active
work.  It would be great if we somehow could fill the gaps at the bottom
with active people.

Another signal why I think the team needs help is that since the Wheezy
release the propagation of translations to Debian seems to have stalled
(see #722618) and translators are not happy about this[2] if the time
they spent seems to be wasted.  While this is certainly a technical
issue it also has a lot to do with communication and trying to bring
together the right people.

2. DebTags

DebTags are a really cool way to dig for packages inside Debian and I
think their current application is even lagging behind the possibilities
this clever tool could provide.  We have one shiny example for a nice
use case which is goplay (with friends golearn, goscience, gosafe and
others) which could be quite helpful for newcomers and we also have
axi-cache which might be widely unknown even if it would deserve more
attention by users.  May be we have even more DebTags based

On the other side the teammetrics image shows[3] that people left alone
the place where we discuss about the development of tags.  If you look
into the archive of this list for this month[4] you find only one thread
which is basically a CC from the Debian Junior list where people
desperately try to discuss some new tags to push the Debian Junior
project a bit (BTW, also Debian Junior is a project that wants you, but
this does not really fit into the two criterions I have put in the
beginning of this mail).   So in other words:  There is nobody who is
able to make up his mind about new tags - even if this is something that
does not require actual technical skills but rather some sense for
finding proper categories, simply applying common sense to the Debian
package pool.

So if you feel you want to become a well respected member of the Debian
community just "be bold" (Sam Hocevar[5]) and try to become active in
these teams according to your preference.  I'm pretty sure the current
team members will be very welcoming and will not leave you alone in your
struggle to learn the internals.  They have some good history of
teaching newcomers and you can rely on them ... as long as they are
motivated and not fully left alone which might be the case in the future
if nobody might come and join them.

Kind regards




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