[ANNOUNCE] dh_splitpackage 0.1

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at kitterman.com
Sat Jun 4 20:05:36 UTC 2011

On Saturday, June 04, 2011 03:20:55 PM Daniel Holbach wrote:
> Hello,
> first of all let me say that we agree on a lot more than we disagree on.
> Am 04.06.2011 20:20, schrieb Scott Kitterman:
> > I'm quite encouraged by Zygmunt's latest reply in the thread.  It's more
> > like the reply I would have hoped came in response to Evan's mail.
> In an ideal world every single contribution would go upstream first, be
> general and solve a lot of problems. Failing that, after some
> conversation, the patch author and others would agree on a good way to
> get the general solution into place. I agree with all of that.
> I just don't feel the way this whole conversation went was the best way
> to get there. There was somebody who put a lot of work into solving a
> problem and shared the solution. Where we might disagree is if it's a
> reasonable to expect the initial patch author to put even more work into
> it. It would be great if it happened that way, but it will cause
> frustration if that expectation isn't met.
> If we want that person to put even more work into the solution, I feel
> the discussion needs to take a different route. Admittedly there was
> some confusion about email addresses which didn't help, but still I felt
> that in this particular case Zygmunt was dismissed in much too rough a way.

As I said, if he'd just said he wasn't interested in upstreaming, I'd have 
been fine with that.  I think the rant was unnecessary and very inappropriate.  
I also think it was inaccurate, but we can move on.  I disagree that my 
response was inappropriate.  

Some people seem to think that the CoC requires us to avoid conflict, but I 
think the opposite is true.  I think it requires us to engage and work to get 
conflicts resolved.  I can understand that my response may have seemed harsh, 
but it was nothing more than an honest reflection of my reaction.

> >> In a lot of cases in the open source world somebody proposed a solution
> >> to part of a bigger problem and even if they chose not to completely
> >> generalise it, upstream it, etc., it helped others to pave the way for a
> >> more general solution. It would be great if all proposed changes in the
> >> world landed upstream first and in a general way, but I don't think it's
> >> a fair a priori expectation.
> > 
> > I think you are putting words in my mouth now.
> The only way I could read
>   "You don't appear to have any interest in collaboration to improve
>    things for the greater benefit."
> was as surprisingly general and as a dismissal. In addition to that
>   "Fortunately your response to his helpful suggestion has reduced the
>    risk you'll ever be inconvenineced by such responses again."
> to me came across as quite cynical and indicating that if Zygmunt was
> not willing to generalise his solution, it'd be pointless and he'd be
> better off not contributing it at all. Certainly it's not welcoming the
> contribution.
> If I misunderstood you, I'm sorry. I don't want to dwell on the question
> of particular words for too long as it does not help moving this
> particular issue forward, but a different tack would have been:
>  - Discussing with Zygmunt what particularly could be generalised most
>    easily and asking for his help if possible.
>  - Asking if he'd mind if Upstream (and others) would be copied in the
>    conversation or if the tool could be submitted for a code/concept
>    review.
>  - Interpreting the tool as a proof-of-concept which could be
>    generalised later on.
> The reason why I'm imagining a softer approach to drive the discussion
> is that I have sympathy for somebody who just solved their own problem
> and shared the idea, but might be too busy / to much out-of-the-loop to
> figure out next steps or actually implement it.
> This feels a bit like sponsoring, where somebody sent a patch that
> solves their problem, but not the complete surrounding problem and it's
> not submitted upstream first. The question is: do we accept the work and
> gently help moving things forward or do we expect the contributor to go
> all the way and ignore the solution until then.

I agree there are similarities, but I find the situation more like after a 
potential sponsor reviews a patch and suggests upstreaming would be the best 
approach they are called idiots for suggesting it.  I think that would be 
inappropriate in that context just as the flaming response to Evan's 
suggestions were inappropriate.

> >> This exchange does not only alienate Zygmunt, but also future
> >> contributors who happen to read this. Everybody is entitled to be of the
> >> opinion that solutions are worthless if they don't generally fix all the
> >> related bugs, but you don't speak for me.
> > 
> > That isn't what I said at all.  Personally I find this kind of response
> > to attack someone who's calling someone on unacceptable behavior
> > demotivating.
> What exactly was unacceptable? Could you imagine that Zygmunt was
> demotivated as well?

I think flaming people who are trying to help you is unacceptable.  It wouldn't 
suprise me if it were, but if people are not willing to work collaboratively 
as part of the community, I'm not overly concerned about it (Note: I'm not 
saying that's still the case in this situation, but it certainly appeared that 
way at the time).

> >> Ubuntu is different because we invite people to share their ideas and we
> >> welcome people in. Dismissing a helpful developer is unproductive and
> >> more importantly actively damaging to the project.
> > 
> > I'm not sure who the helpful developer you're referring to is?  Blasting
> > someone who offers suggestions about how best to get one's work
> > incorporated into Ubuntu is not, IMO, helpful.
> I'm not sure Zygmunt's intent was to get dh_splitpackage into Ubuntu. At
> least it's not mentioned in the initial email. The way I read the mail
> is "Hey, I solved a problem I ran into, check it out if you're interested."

In that case a simple "That's great, but I'm not interested in trying to get 
it into Ubuntu" would have been sufficient.

> > I see in another part of this thread that
> > Zygmunt is going to work with the Debhelper upstream to see if this can
> > be incorporated.  I think that's very good news.
> I agree that it's good news, the question is if this was the most
> pain-free way to "get there".
I agree it's quite unfortunate that Evan's initial helpful suggestions weren't 
better received.  If they had been, a lot of pain would have been avoided.

> > I think that sitting idly by while people are hostile and
> > negative makes the environment more difficult for everyone.
> I totally agree with this and I did feel the need to step in.

It's unfortunate (IMO) that you decided to step in and defend such behavior.

> > Instead of a long
> > rant attacking Ubuntu and Debian, Zygmunt could have just said he wasn't
> > interested in doing that work, but he didn't.  He went on the attack and
> > I think it's unreasonable for you to attack me for calling him on it.
> There certainly was frustration in that mail, but it also contained
> valuable feedback about how it feels contributing something to
> Ubuntu/Debian for somebody who is not participating in Ubuntu
> development every single day.
> I think it's absolutely possible to point out that the tone of an email
> is not OK, the critical difference between our two perceptions is in
> "rant of a frustrated contributor" vs. "attack of our projects".

Perhaps rant of a frustrated non-contributor.  Most of the "Oh, I'd have to 
..." in the response was completely inaccurate.  If the response had been 
further questions about what would be required to work on integrating it with 
debhelper, then it would have been completely appropriate (even with some 
mention of being worried about the level of effort required).

> >> Negative:
> >>  - some confusion about email addresses,
> >>  - a lasting impression that contributing to Debian and Ubuntu is hard
> >>    and you might get flamed if you share your work but might be too
> >>    busy to fully generalise it, etc etc.
> >    - Ubuntu developers getting flamed for upholding project values
> It seems we both clashed in trying to do the same.
> >    - At least one Ubuntu developer feeling like the Canonical community
> >    team
> >    
> >      is more committed to Canonical employees than Ubuntu.
> Jono, Jorge, David and Ahmed were not part of this debate.
> It's an idle side-path of the discussion, but I don't want anybody
> treated on this mailing list like Zygmunt was treated, Canonical
> employee or not.

I don't sense any concern until it was a Canonical person being told they were 
behaving inappropriately.  AIUI you are the person on the community team 
tasked with working with Ubuntu developers, so what I have to go on is your 
reaction to this.  I think the reply that Evan got was completely 
inappropriate and unfair.  He was just trying to be helpful.  When I see some 
concern over this, then I'll be glad to reconsider.

> >> Can we please go back to square 1 and can those who are interested in
> >> the problems that are solved (or partly solved) by Zygmunt have a
> >> conversation that is goal-oriented instead? I'm sure Zygmunt is happy to
> >> answer questions about how his code works and which considerations
> >> exactly led to it.
> > 
> > I'm happy to take a step back and consider a better path forward.  I
> > think Zygmunt's reply to maco is very encouraging.
> I agree that things it's great we have paths of communication
> established now. I just feel that we could have got there in a much
> calmer way than we did.
> Again, if I misread any of the previous conversation and misinterpreted
> it, then I'm sorry. There was other confusion part of this debate as
> well, which probably also didn't help.

I agree this is a side discussion that's not relevant to the main point.

Scott K

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list