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In my opinion the main problem of Debian is it doesn't have a formal way to create a way for a group of developers and users to communicate about specific wide reaching issues within the Debian community.

There are thousands of DD, most of them working on packages, some on infrastructure or QA, but basically everyone works solo.

In my point of view this does not scale well because of the following reasons:

  • It is too tempting to only skim over a suggestion made by another developer if a mailing list contains 200 messages per day. Even one poster can start a flame war which is not advancing the solution to the problem.
  • Bigger problems take longer to solve. Mailing list threads have the tendency to peter out. Nobody is working on the problem, the problem is doomed to be brought up again in a few weeks/months time.
  • A developer working on a problem may have the feeling to be alone in the crowd. Everybody on the mailing list is giving tips but it is really hard to find somebody actually willing to put in the work instead of just talking about it.
  • Psychologists say the best working group size is around 7 people. People know each other, respect each other (otherwise the group would not be a group) and there is enough manpower to get work done. If the group would be much bigger group members would not know each other, if the group would be smaller there would be not enough manpower.

These points are the reason why I think that Debian should slightly change the current structure. Therefore I propose a set of groups:

  • All groups are equal and under the current governmental structure. (think: the DPL, release manager, ftp masters, etc)
  • Each of these groups work on a different problem.

My proposal is different from the already existing Debian subprojects since these are based on application type (only for kids, for architecture xy, for servers, the desktop, whatever). My solution would be problem-based (working groups).

The starting point for such a working group would be debian-devel. As soon as a problem pops up which is of interest for many of the debian developers (such as the problem which programs should be included into Debian, cf the hot-babes thread, or a slow release cycle, or too much spam on the mailing lists, etc).

  • A new mailing list should be created.
  • Developers wishing to tackle the problem join the mailing list and work on the problem, present solutions until the problem is fixed.

Working on a separate mailing list has the advantage that one could get to know the other group members, learning to appreciate their opinion. The group would present the solutions found to the Debian community through the debian-devel mailing list, so this list would still be the starting and the end point for problems.

As soon as a consensus is found and the solution is integrated into the Debian infrastructure the working group can be dissolved if it is a one time issue. -- What Thomas (Debian user) is really trying to say --MikeFedyk.


  • As soon as an issue is important to several developers, they can work together to find the real cause, and best solutions.


  • Most people who are willing to talk about a subject aren't willing to do anything about it, so you would just end up with more talking on seperate lists.

For some discussion see DebianNotHierarchicalEnough

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