apt install dpl-candidate: Neil McGovern

Sat 14 March 2015 by Zlatan Todorić with tags interview dpl vote

0. Who are you and what's your history with Debian Project?

My name's Neil, I've been involved with Debian for over 10 years now. I've held a variety of roles, from the SPI board, writing policy and secure testing team, to being one of the Release Managers for Squeeze and Wheezy.

1. What's your most proud moment as Debian Developer?

Probably the release of Squeeze, my first as RM. It was the end of a great effort to get the release out. I particularly remember at the end of DebConf 10 in New York going to the local Disney store and buying every single small squeeze plush toy they had, so I could send a thank you gift to the rest of the release team! Another perhaps was when I first got my Debian kilt.

2. In your opinion what is the strongest part of Debian Project?

I think this is our social contract. It guides us, and is what we all agree on. This is our promise to ourselves, to the wider open source community and to our users.

3. And what is the weakest part of Debian Project?

At a push, I'd say it's the variety of packages we have in the archive. I'm not sure it's weakness, but it's certainly a challenge. It becomes exponentially harder to ensure that everything integrates well as you add more packages. To have made it do so this far is quite impressive.

4. How do you intend to resolve the weakest part?

Well, see the section in my platform on PPAs, and modernising our build and infrastructure system Wouldn't it be great if you could stage a package against all of stable, testing and unstable, and see what fails to build and where, with live build logs on all architectures?

5. DPL term lasts for one year - what would you challenge during that term and what have you learned from previous DPL's?

I think my primary role as DPL for 2015 would be to get a great start of development for Stretch. The start of a new release cycle is the exact time to implement wide changes that are potentially disruptive. Every couple of years we seem to relax after the release, rather than get geared up for the next one, and then time passes, and plans slip, and before we know it, the freeze is fast approaching. If we start planning /now/, then we can hopefully enter the freeze with fewer RC bugs, which should be great news for everyone! For the second part, I've talked to a lot of the previous DPLs, and worked with them in one role or another. The main thing I was told was that I shouldn't try and do everything I planned on. It's hard work, and all sorts of things pop up that derail your original plans.

6. What motivates you to work in Debian and run for DPL?

The people involved. I've met and worked with some of my greatest friends due to the project. The work, dedication and commitment of those over the years is outstanding. Most of these people are still with us, and unfortunately, a few are not. Whenever I'm feeling disheartened or annoyed, usually due to a giant flame-war then I simply remember that what we're doing is truly remarkable, and the effort that everyone has put in over the years isn't something that should be taken for granted.




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