"official" MOTU projects (was: Morgue for MOTU ?)

Lucas Nussbaum lucas at lucas-nussbaum.net
Fri Feb 10 13:06:19 GMT 2006

On 10/02/06 at 13:18 +0100, Stephan Hermann wrote:
> On Thursday 09 February 2006 21:37, Matt Palmer wrote:
> > On Thu, Feb 09, 2006 at 06:38:17PM +0100, Stephan Hermann wrote:
> > > On Thursday 09 February 2006 14:06, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> > > > On 09/02/06 at 12:57 +0000, Reinhard Tartler wrote:
> > > > > These thoughts lead directly to the questions "What are we MOTUs, why
> > > > > do we work in the MOTU Team, where did we come from, and where do we
> > > > > go tomorrow". Strange questions, but necessary, I think.
> > > >
> > > > Add: What can be expected from a MOTU regarding quality, dedication,
> > > > etc. This is similar to the questions about contribution to Debian. And
> > > > there's really no easy answer.
> > >
> > > You can't expect anything from a volunteer.
> >
> > No, you can't *force* a volunteer to do anything.  That's not the same
> > thing as "no expectations".  I think it's reasonable to set a number of
> > expectations of MOTUs, document them, and then require that, if you want to
> > be part of the team, that you abide by those expectations.  If you are
> > unwilling or unable to meet the necesary expectations, it's "thanks for
> > your contributions, but you're off the team".
> You can't force or expect anything from someone. The volunteer is starting his 
> work because he wants to. He will end his work, because he wants to, has no 
> time anymore or whatever reason he has.
> The Ubuntu way of handling this is, document your work, become a Member, and 
> after some time, become an ubuntu-dev with universe/multiverse upload rights. 
> The Ubuntu / ubuntu-dev membership won't last forever, they are limited to 1 
> to 2 years. If they're not renewed you loose your rights automatically. Thx 
> to LP.
> This is different from Debian, where someone has to write a lot of emails and 
> waiting for no response to set the maintainer as MIA.

It's funny how Ubuntu sometimes seem to chose automatic procedures where
Debian prefers "human-based" procedures. I'm not sure it's better in all

> > "No expectations" is, IMO, one of the leading causes of problems in
> > volunteer organisations.  Nobody feels a need to do anything beyond
> > "because I want to at the moment", and things fall apart.  In the larger
> > context, society works on expectations -- courtesy, norms, and so on, are
> > all expectations that society "in general" applies to it's members.
> That's right, and that's the reason why "volunteer only distribution" will 
> never succeed. Debian (as volunteer only org) will never see officially 
> supported commercial apps, but Ubuntu/Progeny/insert your favorite 
> (semi-commercial) debian derivative here, will see them.

I think it shocking that a developer of a free GNU/Linux distribution
considers "official support of proprietary applications" a well-suited
indicator for measuring success.

> For me, volunteers are coming and are going. It's a continous flow of "human 
> resources" over time. Is that bad? No. 
> It's only a matter of fact, that volunteer only organisations are just a 
> "hobby".

I strongly urge you to read Martin Michlmayr's papers about management
of volunteers in free software organizations.
| Lucas Nussbaum
| lucas at lucas-nussbaum.net   http://www.lucas-nussbaum.net/ |
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