Leadership in Debian

So, back in the mists of time (ie, slightly over a month ago), David Welton asked Do you think it’s possible for Debian to have a leader anymore?. I made a few comments in response, which in part might be summarised as Debian having an unreasonable culture of blame on its leadership, leading to people not being particularly interested in taking up the job which in turn results in the job not being done, and Debian essentially stagnating. One of the comments I made was:

[…] Let’s delve into this some more: I spent a fair bit of time advocating what I thought was the appropriate course of action on [the removal of] non-free. I prepared a resolution, and it even won the day. For my involvement in this debate, I’ve been called a hypocrite [0], told I’ve personally broken the fundamental compromises behind the social contract [1], and told that I deserve to have the absolute worst assumed of my motives [2].

Thomas Bushnell’s response (and followup) was:

[[0]] does not say you are a hypocrite.

[…It] is not, in fact, targeted at you specifically, and it has nothing to do with removing non-free, as Nathanael indicated.

Huh? Nathanael actually said that you *had* misunderepresented what he said, and now you are misrepresenting his correction. *Wonderful!*

Reading debian-devel I now get to see this:

The RM was being hypocritical, using a bogus interpretation of the Social Contract to convince himself that he wasn’t. After the amendment passed, he was unable to delude himself further. I don’t think the proponents of the amendment could have predicted his psychology.

Nathanael Nerode’s the guy with the hypocrisy fetish, and isn’t a developer, although we seem to be fortunate enough that he’s seriously considering applying now. Thomas Bushnell’s been a developer for a while now.

I find the above remarks highly offensive. They’re not something I’ve got any interest in putting up with, least of all from supposed colleagues. Should I have to? Are they a necessary part of developing a free software distribution? If causing offense in that manner is something that can and should be avoided, is the way Thomas dealt with the issue when I raised it a month ago appropriate or optimal? Is the complete lack of criticism Thomas received, and the complete lack of support I received indicative of the correct path to take on this topic?

Leave a Reply