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Debian NM process: it’s not bureaucracy, it’s …

November 5, 2011


Before entering Debian NM process (formerly New Maintainer process, now New Member process) , I’ve often read that it was too long, too hard, or too bureaucratic.

It’s certainly true that becoming a Debian Developer takes some time. Even if you’re already actively packaging. You have to answer a lot of questions regarding several aspects of Debian project. Some of them are not fun but necessary:

  • Licensing is mostly boring but necessary: a mistake there may put the whole project in jeopardy. On the positive side, you also learn how to protect the software you write
  • Debian social rules: Well, Debian project is inviting you to become a member. As they say “When in Rome, do like the Romans”. Learning Debian ways and customs will allow you to better cooperate and benefit from the project.
  • Tools and skills: Even though I’ve been actively packaging for Debian-perl team for quite a while, I did have some knowledge holes. I had to do some research to answer questions. Especially regarding security practices and all the packaging tools available in Debian.

All in all, the NM process was time well spent. I’ve learned a lot.

IMHO, Debian NM process isn’t bureaucracy, it’s more like a training. And an interesting one.

So, if you’re thinking about becoming a Debian Member, to paraphrase someone, what the bloody hell are you waiting for ? 🙂

Many thanks to all people that helped me become a DD:

  • gregoa whose attention to small details is uncanny
  • xoswald who had to read all my answers and the bad jokes in there
  • Enrico who reviewed the whole stuff and approved my application
  • The debian-perl team for their warm welcome and helpful attitude

All the best

From → Debian

  1. foo permalink

    NM should *NOT* be training. You should know everything you need before you get asked to enter it.

    • From a practical point of view, having prior knowledge is indeed highly recommended. With limited prior knowledge, the process will be very long and painful for the applicant (and probably for the AM). So, unlike a training, you should not start from scratch.

      One can expect people to know everything they need to do their previous activity with Debian project. But this will probably not cover everything they need to know to become a DD. So, like a training, the NM will lead you to learn. But unlike a training, you will learn mostly by your own research.

    • I both agree and disagree. I am currently in the NM process, and I do not feel they expect me to know just everything, rather the important things and how to find anything on which I would have a doubt. I do not think Debian is looking for robots and artificial men that would know the policy and the developer reference by heart. So, the NM process is basically a way to check that the applicant knows enough and agrees with the values of the project indeed, but as he will not know the answer to anything, it is also an occasion for him to learn a bit and to learn how to learn even more.

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