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

Stephan Hermann sh at sourcecode.de
Sat Feb 11 01:51:51 GMT 2006

Hi Lucas,

On Friday 10 February 2006 14:06, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> 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
> cases.

Well, what is human-based? Someone who write an email to another person, and 
has to wait several days/weeks/months to get no answer, or there is someone, 
who has interest in something, is documenting this on a wiki (or whatever is 
state of art) and attends after 1 or 2 years again the CC or TB?

If he/she is not renewing his "membership/upload-rights/etc" he will just 
disappear from the list of the rights table. What's  not human with that?

The question is responsibility: In Ubuntus case, I am responsible for the 
things I do, so if I'm not interested anymore to do something, I do nothing, 
and I will disappear, that was my goal.

Debian, as the opposite, waits for other people to find out, if I'm interested 
or not. To be honest, I wouldn't rely on others statement, when they are 
writing emails to mailinglists and stating that I'm not interested in my 
packages anymore. It could be, e.g., that they didn't have my new email 
address, and they are writing to someone else. 

So, the automatic way of this, is not so automatic as it seems. I made my 
decision not to do anything anymore, the application is just doing the rest 
for the infrastructure.

> > > "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.

Well, do you think that companies like RedHat or Novell are just surviving 
with open-source? Or are they surviving, because they deliver something for 
other commercial applications like Oracle, SAP, IBM?

Wake Up pls. OpenSource is not only doing some development on a project. 
Without the money they earn with supporting commercial applications, no 
project would survive. And yes, this is mostly forgotten by people who don't 
want to see the real world. The real world is "without money no opensource".

> > 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.

When I have the time :) But being a volunteer in several projects since 1986 
and having seen many different ways of "how to manage a volunteer 
I have my own views about some things. And my view is: "Come and work if you 
want, just go and don't bother the others, when you want to leave the 

Seriously speaking, since I started to work for MOTU, that's in April 2006 one 
year, I saw some people working, and they were really good. One release 
later, they disappeared, because of several reasons. It was sad to see that 
they don't work with us anymore, but am I bothered? No. The work on Universe 
will continue, everybody is giving so much time he/she has and is willing to 
I would be happy, when I see the other people again doing some work for 
Ubuntu, but I don't mind if they don't (they have their reasons).



PS: I think we close this thread here, it's totally offtopic. If you want to 
discuss this matter further, please change to private email.

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