Along with his election, the Project has also released the next version of the distribution which is named Etch. A day earlier, the last update of the previous version, Sarge, was released. Etch has taken 21 months of development, a marked improvement over the nearly 36 months that Sarge took.
In his election platform, Hocevar, 28, had cited among his objectives, if he won, the goal of again making it fun to work on Debian. "Admit it, we have become a bunch of old farts who have a lot less fun than before. I find it hard to have as much fun working on Debian when there is so much frustration," he wrote.
Hocevar also cited some of the experiences he brought to Debian from being part of the VideoLAN project which provides an excellent free media player that runs on many platforms.
He says he "quickly evolved from the shy but enthusiast newcomer to the talented contributor. As I gathered knowledge about the codebase and respect from other developers, I became omnipresent and started controlling what others were doing, by mentoring them or by making enlightened project-wide decisions. I was naturally overwhelmed with work and had to manage my priorities, dismissing less urgent stuff and locking tasks because I did not trust others to complete them in the perfect way I expected. Several contributors left in frustration and today I believe that despite VideoLAN’s quality and popularity it would be even greater today had I not prevented developers from working freely.
"This is a personal story but certainly not an isolated one. History of other projects must not be ignored: egcs (though we now call it gcc) overtook the FSF control freaks’ suffocating gcc, X.org quickly replaced XFree86 after everyone got fed up with the core team’s control freaks," he added.
Given this, one could reasonably expect to see some change in the project. In short, his plan is to get things done; get things done faster; give information about things that are done and; give information about things that aren’t done.
Some of the problems Debian faced during the most recent development cycle arose when the last leader, Anthony Towns, set up a side project to pay the release managers in order to try and ensure that Etch kept to the scheduled release date of December 4, 2006. This caused friction and several developers were alleged to have slowed down things deliberately to ensure that the release schedule was missed. Else, Towns could well have claimed that his idea had worked.
Hocevar has given no indication whether this will continue.
The Frenchman is the 10th leader of the project and is preceded by the founder Ian Murdock, Bruce Perens, Ian Jackson, Wichert Akkerman, Ben Collins, Bdale Garbee, Martin Michlmayr, Branden Robinson and Towns. Debian counts developers from 43 countries among its 1000-plus community.