Draft resolution formalising Debian's Associated Project status

Ian Jackson ijackson at chiark.greenend.org.uk
Tue Mar 6 12:16:34 UTC 2007

Theodore Tso writes ("Re: Draft resolution formalising Debian's Associated Project status"):
> The general way you deal with this is you have a separation of
> responsibilities.  So you have one person from the team which is
> designated as the official represenative, and another person who can
> formally and legally notify SPI that the representative has been
> replaced.  So for example in Debian, this might be the DPL for one,
> and the Project Secretary for the other.

This would be one way of doing it but it doesn't seem necessary to go
to that level of formality.  SPI is a lot closer to Debian than a bank
is to its customers, and we have plenty of Debian Developers here to
make sure we find out if anything goes wrong.

> The bottom line is that we need to optimize for the common case, where
> you assume that the project representative is acting in good faith.
> If we have a project which is so dysfunctional such that this is not
> the common case, both the project and SPI has a much bigger set of
> problems on its hands...

Indeed so.  This is why my proposal deals with the common case by
having the DPL tell us what the situation is, just as at present.

I didn't want to make this personal, but let me be blunt:

Anthony Towns writes:
> And, uh, the "authoritative decisionmaker" for Debian is the duly elected
> leader of the Debian project.

Anthony overreaches himself here.  The authoritative decisionmaker for
Debian - the governing body - is the Developers via General
Resolution.  Anthony as DPL is the executive - the decisionmaker of
first instance.

IMO this is not the first time he has overstepped the mark; on another
memorable recent occasion, after an enormously acrimonious debate, 15%
of Debian's governing body thought he had offended badly enough that
he should be sacked over it[1], as many as endorsed his actual

I therefore have no confidence that Anthony will know the bounds of
his own authority and I am not prepared to acquiesce to a statement
that relies on Anthony's judgement on these matters.

In particular, Anthony seems to be playing the role of Debian's SPI
advisor here - and what he is telling us inflates his own authority!


[1] http://www.debian.org/vote/2006/vote_005
  Of 330 DD's who cast ballots, 48 preferred Recall to the only
  other option, Further Discussion.

[2] http://www.debian.org/vote/2006/vote_006
  Of 333 DD's who cast ballots, 49 preferred `wish success to Dunc
  Tank' to `do not endorse or support his other projects'.

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