Developer Application Board

Colin Watson cjwatson at
Wed Jul 15 12:53:05 BST 2009

On Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 12:38:31PM +0100, Matthew East wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 11:53 AM, Mark Shuttleworth<mark at> wrote:
> > The concern about privacy is based on experience at both Debian and Ubuntu.
> > The TB feel strongly that they would get a better result if the discussions
> > about someone's capability and style are confidential - so strongly that it
> > has resulted in the whole TB list being private till now.
> I don't have a problem with the new board having a private list and
> see the rationale behind opening the TB list.
> But, am I right that developer applications have also been dealt with
> in public meetings? I've seen agenda items with public applications
> and public discussions of those.

To date this has been true for the TB. It's caused a number of practical
problems, though; the meeting format for interviews is very
high-pressure for candidates, and this often doesn't produce good
results (indeed in some cases it's resulted in explosive
confrontations). We also often find ourselves far too rushed. I think
consensus in the TB at the moment is that we would probably do a better
job with an e-mail format, where both sides could consider questions and
answers at slightly more length.

I understand the desire for transparency too. Perhaps the answer there
is to have a public summary of the conversations involved in all
successful applications (could even be an attached mail thread, with
consent)? I'm not sure what to do with failed applications; I think we
generally ought to strive to let everyone know what we've been doing,
but on the other hand I feel that the candidate ought to have the
opportunity to consent to us telling the world that we didn't want them
to be a developer just yet.

Personally, I do very strongly feel that it is important for people to
feel able to be frank about developer applications. Subject to the code
of conduct, obviously - I'm not saying that we need a blackballing
system, or a way for people to slander others in private! - we want
people to be able to come forward and say "to be quite honest, I don't
think this person is competent to be a core developer yet". I'm
concerned that having absolutely everything public as a matter of course
has a chilling effect on this, with people feeling constrained to be
"nice". A good compromise seems to be to have private conversations and
then summarise them in public with the opportunity for some editing.
Given the privileges inherent in developer status, I feel that this is
substantially more important than it is for Ubuntu membership.

Developer Application Board vs. Developer Membership Board: don't much
care about the name, although "Developer Membership" seems a tad

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at]

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