Monday, 26 March 2012 10:00

Three in race for post of Debian leader

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After a year when there was just a single candidate, the incumbent, standing for the post, 2012 will see three developers slug it out for the post of leader of the Debian GNU/Linux Project.

Debian is the only free software project which holds an election to select its leader each year; the project produces what is arguably the best GNU/Linux distribution and one that caters to the most platforms.

Incumbent leader Stefano Zacchiroli has thrown his hat into the ring for a third time, mainly, he says, to complete the tasks that he outlined in his first run for the job.

The other candidates are Wouter Verhelst and Gergely Nagy.

Verhelst has been a developer since 2011 and says that he wants to run in order to bring about change; in his platform statement he says that Zacchiroli has treated the office of leader merely as an administrative job.

In his platform statement, Verhelst makes reference to the changes that Anthony Towns introduced in 2006-07 when he used some of the funds from the project to pay select developers in order to speed up a release.

This caused quite a bit of controversy in the project ranks and as a result the number of candidates rose to eight in 2007. Verhelst was one of them and he says his vision hasn't changed since then - "I still think we need to make sure Debian is and remains a welcoming place to work on free software."


Nagy, who likens the act of running for DPL as akin to walking the plank, has been with the project for over a decade. He says his main aim as leader will be to make the project one that is "able to attract passionate talent from within the project, or from outside, or better yet: both."

He adds: "I long to see the day when reading bits from the various teams is actually a good, entertaining (not necessarily funny!) read, not just a dry list of bullet points. While to-the-point announcements of such nature are useful and interesting to those who are already involved in the respective teams, it's much harder to digest for those who are not. If these updates, these periodic news and bits and pieces could be also used to attract more contributors... wouldn't that be impressive?"

Zacchiroli, who has been doing the job for the last two years without ruffling any hackles, says this will be his last term.

If he is elected, he says he "will work to ensure a smooth transition to the future DPL inviting interested developers to participate in DPL activities, and periodically/publicly review the state of the DPL agenda".

Zacchiroli says, if elected, he will try to finish what he has started - providing information about the money donated to the project, improving delegation and strengthening core teams, building relationships with companies that wish to donate to the project, improving communications and publicity, and creating structured networks of local teams or user groups.

Campaigning ends on March 31 and voting is open from April 1 to 14.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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