iTWire: Do you think this is unwieldy because everyone has a voice? Do you think it might be better if X number of senior people made the decisions?
There was a sense, this time around, that our former secretary may have overstepped his bounds a little bit in how he crafted the wording of some of the options. But I think it's actually very important for the person who's running the vote to help the people proposing the different options that they like to see voted on, to get the language structured in a way that helps us to clearly understand the minds of the developers in the aftermath of the vote. Otherwise the vote has less value.
I think there's a balance here between preserving the ability of individual developers who can get enough seconds to be able to propose a resolution, and an appropriate engagement by the project secretary to ensure that the ballot we're voting on is one the developers can comprehend and make intelligent choices at the end of the process.
I frankly find the process of trying to do that daunting. As a result I am very pleased that we will announce a new secretary and I won't have to do this anymore.
iTWire: What do you think about having a code of conduct for Debian?
BG: It's interesting. I'm one of those people who is always reticent to add additional rigid documented policy and process because I have a general belief in something that's actually been part of HP's core corporate values for a long time. Which is this notion that people want to do the right thing and, given the opportunity, will try to do the right thing.
And I think that even at Debian that's generally true. But, unfortunately, what we've learnt over the years as the project has gotten bigger and bigger is it's very easy to find yourself being held victim by a very vocal minority who, in effect, end up monopolising the discussion on mailing lists by so many posts which are so repetitive it drives other people away from the conversation because they get tired of reading the same stuff over and over again.
I think that as a consequence some of the ideas that are floating around, about ways that might try to guide more social behaviour in our interactions, seem like good ideas but I don't know yet whether any of the specific ideas floating around are things that I would be willing to support. I still need to think about this for a while.