Seriously. Now that we have been using the request tracker for quite some time, it’s even more obvious that the DSA team is not up to its task.
Use login “guest” and password “readonly” if you want to check the RT tickets linked in this article.
- 65 public tickets open (and 5 private tickets)
- Want to help and seek input from DSA? No response.
- Want to help and you provide patches and/or solutions? Many are still waiting.
- Security updates? Who cares…
- Backup of ftp-master (ries)? No reply (though ftp-master stuff is mirrored on merkel)…
- New alpha machine? No movement despite the fact that we still have no DD-accessible porter machine.
- 68 tickets closed. Here are some unscientific and manual stats (I counted one each time that someone was involved for the work or for closing the ticket):
- 27 for James Troup (elmo)
- 26 for Phil Hands (fil)
- 13 for me (buxy)
- 3 for Martin ‘Joey’ Schulze (those I manually forwarded him)
- 3 for Ryan Murray (neuro)
- 3 for Matt Taggart (taggart)
- 2 for Josip Rodin (he handles tickets concerning the mirrors until they have a dedicated queue in the RT)
Note that myself and Matt do not have the needed rights to fix most of the tickets, so we provided help on a best-effort basis. Otherwise we would have done more.
The communication problem
It’s a multi-level problem. Each of the members has some problems with one or more other members. Joey’s behavior has been part of the recurring problems mentioned: he doesn’t use the RT, doesn’t read the DSA email alias and doesn’t follow the DSA IRC channel but he still does stuff very regularly without reporting anything and obviously problems happen. Ryan and James tried to impose him a rule to document what he does, without success apparently. On the other side, as far as I know, Ryan and James also don’t impose themselves to document everything in a central changelog. Joey has refused to provide me an explanation for his behavior. He just reminded me that he holds grudges against James and Ryan because as ftpmasters they didn’t cooperate well with him while he was stable release manager.
In general, outside of all personal griefs that they might have, the DSA members do not communicate very much (at least not on their own official channels). Some examples have already been given concerning the request tracker, but it’s not much more effective on IRC. Most of the traffic on the channel is made up by local admins fixing the problems themselves without any intervention by any DSA.
I also use the channel to regularly ping some DSA about simple issues and/or stuff that they usually handle. It used to work somewhat but lately fil has been busy (with the kernel summit and other conferences) and I simply got no answer at all… for example I pinged elmo, neuro and fil several times in the last weeks in the hope that they handle the tickets of the security team (#150, #157, #164) without results.
There’s room for improvement.
The leadership problem
The team has no designated leader and every time that there’s a decision to take, they are blocked. Joey wouldn’t communicate and give his opinion, Ryan is extremely requiring and perfectionist, there’s not much room for compromise…
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Joey and elmo were friends. It’s even Joey who gave root rights to elmo. Nowadays, it’s rather James that is sort-of leading the team but he’s fed up of the situation and hasn’t managed to get out of this mess.
He refuses to take drastic measures by himself because he’s not clearly the leader and doesn’t solicit a decision of the Debian leader (or the project) because he believes that the DSA team is not under the scope of the constitution!
This can’t last any further. We’ll have to do something about it. Stay tuned.