Zacchiroli, the current leader of the project, told iTWire that his trip, to attend the 12th Australian national Linux conference in Brisbane, had been borne out of a talk which he presented to the last DebConf, the annual summit of Debian developers, in which he outlined what was still special about Debian.
"My fellow developers liked what I presented and they suggested that I take the same message elsewhere," Zacchiroli (pic below) said. "It was almost deadline time for submitting proposals for talks to the LCA folk but I just about made it in time."
His talk, titled "Who the bloody hell cares about Debian?" is scheduled for the last day of the conference, January 28.
Zacchiroli, who was voted in as DPL in April last year, said that though things were working out quite well as regards the plans he had when he ran for office, he was as yet undecided whether to stand for election again.
"Thus far, I have been able to communicate well with the developers - they always know what I am doing," he said. "I decided to stop hacking when I became leader because I felt that I could not do justice to both functions. It has worked out well for me."
Zacchiroli said the climate on the mailing lists - Debian has a reputation for having the best flame-fests of any FOSS project - had become quite good these days.
"The key ingredient in the project now is that it is a do-ocracy," he said. "If a developer thinks something is wrong, he can get up and fix it. Of course, bug reports are important too."
Asked about Ubuntu and the threat which some perceive it as posing to Debian, Zacchiroli said the two distributions had different roles.
"Debian has complete independence in decision-making; our decisions are made solely on technical merit and are not tied to any financial direction," he said.
"Further, as we are a community distribution, we can be faithful to the principles of freedom to a much higher degree than a commercial project. We have a degree of autonomy which other distributions do not have."