While the details about how to join the set of paid contributors have always been public (here) we did not advertise this fact very much outside of the people already interested in LTS (and thus subscribed to email@example.com). But right now we would like to have a few more paid contributors on board and I’m thus posting this call for volunteers.
Who can apply?
You need to meet those requirements:
- you are Debian Developer or a Debian Maintainer;
- you have some prior experience with providing security updates in Debian (at least on your own packages);
- you have good programming skills and know multiple languages (to be able to backport security fixes);
- you can emit invoices to Freexian;
- you accept the rules defined for this project:
- you must respect the privacy of any customer data;
- you must prepare a public monthly report of the work done on paid time;
- you must respect the Debian code of conduct and respond to queries about your work from fellow community members;
- you must do your best to meet the high-quality standards set by the Debian security team.
Even though Freexian is located in France and requires you to provide invoice in EUR, there are no conditions on your nationality or country of residence. For contributors outside of the Euro zone, Freexian is using Transferwise to pay them with minimal currency conversion costs (Paypal is also possible if nothing else works).
The rate offered to paid contributors is the same for all (75 EUR/hour), it’s based on a correct rate for independent contractors in western Europe. If the rate is very high for your own country, then be happy to be able to invoice Freexian at this rate and use this opportunity to work less (for money) and contribute more to Debian on your (now copious) free time.
How does the work look like?
If you apply, you will have to send us an SSH key so that you can have access to the internal git repository used for work. It contains a ledger file to track the hours funded by sponsors and how they have been dispatched to the various contributors. You can always know how many hours are assigned to you, how many can be invoiced, and so on. You will have to update it once a month to record the work you did (and indicate us where the report has been published).
The repository also contains a README with many explanations about the workflow (how hours are dispatched, the delay you have to publish your report, etc) and a small helper script (./find-work) to match up the pending updates (registered in dla-needed.txt) with the popularity of the package among the sponsors.
Now the work itself is relatively well documented in the LTS wiki. You will have to provide updates for packages that need an update.
You have some freedom in selecting the packages but at some point you will have to work on packages that you don’t know that are written in a language that you have almost not used. So you must be able to go out of your comfort zone and still do a good work. You must also be able to multi-task because in some cases you will get stuck on a particular update and you will have to seek help from the upstream developer (or from the Debian package maintainer). Don’t expect to be able to do all your work hours in a single run… thus don’t wait until the last days of the month. Start early and dispatch your work hours over the month.
From time to time, you will also have to handle the “LTS frontdesk” for one week. During this week, you need to spend a bit of time every day to triage the new CVE, to respond to questions on the mailing list, and to sponsor updates prepared by volunteers who do not have upload rights.
Ask your questions in the comments and I will update this section with your questions and our answers.
What if I have no prior experience with security updates?
Start getting some experience. The LTS and security teams are open for anyone to join. Read their documentation and provide some updates that other contributors can sponsor.
Before accepting you as paid contributor, we generally ask you to prepare one or two DLA on your free time just to make sure that you know the workflow and that you are up to the task.
What if I have only X hours available for paid LTS work?
In the git repository there’s a file where you document how many work hours you can handle. You might get less than this amount, but we generally never assign less than 8 hours (to make sure that you can handle one complicated update from start to end, or your possible week of LTS frontdesk).
You can adjust it each month or even opt-out if you are not available for whatever reason. But once you have been assigned work hours, it’s important to actually do the work that you requested!
How do I apply?
Get in touch with me (as documented).