Miriam Ruiz
random thoughts on technology and life











{June 07, 2007}   Sponsorship of Debian Packages

One of the worse things for a maintainer that happens not to be a DD (Heh!) is finding a sponsor for the packages. I remember some time ago I preferred to send the packages I had developed to upstream so that they could hang them in their own pages, instead of Debian repositories, because it was much more effort for me (and more emotionally stressing) to deal with finding a sponsor than to develop and maintain the package itself.

I still have that feeling when I need to find an sponsor for any of my packages. The fact that I’m maintaining much more of them now doesn’t help, and I seem to be needing a sponsor almost every day lately. Even though I might have been spending lots of hours in getting a package ready for Debian, solved the problems with upstream, replaced non-free stuff inside, getting everything ready so that other people can benefit from my work, I still have that strange feeling that they’re doing me a favor by letting me put that package into the repositories. I wonder if the people developing other distributions have that feeling too or if it’s Debian-specific.

Of course, having a lot of friends as DDs, knowing them in person, knowing that they trust you, helps a lot. At least you don’t have the feeling that you’re being scrutinized that you have when you’re a newbie to Debian Development. Still, when I need sponsorship for any of my packages, I still have the feeling that I’m appealing to friendship to achieve it, and that I’m pestering my friends. I’ve even been directly accused by some of pestering them about sponsoring my packages. It makes me feel bad. I don’t like spending lots of hours doing something for other people, and afterwards feeling an egoist for wanting to share it. That’s how the current sponsorship process makes me feel, and I guess I’m not the only one out there feeling this way. Do people doing stuff from Ubuntu feel this way too?

“Finish your NM, Become a DD“, I’m often told when I complain about this. Yup, it’s true, I agree. Anyway I’m mentioning this not as a personal problem I myself have, but something that many non-DD maintainers feel, and that might be one of the reasons why some of them might decide in the end to jump into another distribution that doesn’t make them feel kinda bad people just for doing stuff. It might be surprising to here, but I don’t feel myself ready for becoming a DD yet. It might be kinda Impostor Syndrome, dunno, but I cannot keep myself from feeling it.



Voila! says:

Package Sponsorship…

Miriam is worried that getting packages sponsored is a burden on DD’s and that she’s asking them a favour. I can understand where that comes from, but at least for me personally, that’s definitely not the case….



Kevin Mark says:

Developing Free software is something of merit. It benefits those people who have bugs, those who submit bugs and those who use your work. When you contribute to Debian, it helps its users & it helps support Debian. A Debian developer should encourage others to contribute to Debian. So if someone seems to be treating your contribution to Debian as a burden, I would put the onus on them and maybe find someone else who does not treat your contribution in that way. Also, email is a very low-bandwidth medium for qualities such as intention, feeling, sarcasm and emotion, so it may be that there is simply a misunderstanding. Anyway, I hope you resolve this issue, since the Debian games group is bring the fun back into Debian, and you are contributing to that rocking effort.
cheers!



Andy Price says:

Having had a taste of the sponsorship processes in both Debian and Ubuntu I must admit that I’ve never felt a burden to the people I’ve asked for sponsorship. They’ve made these processes like they are because it’s the best way to work, and if they all didn’t like it or felt bad about having to sponsor, I’m sure they’d push to change the processes. I give and receive a similar amount of “thanks” from my Debian sponsor and from MOTUs reviewing my Ubuntu merges etc. and I think that’s important, if only as a passing nicety.

The only time I do feel bad is when I get silly things wrong and feel like I’m wasting the sponsor’s time but it just gives me a bigger kick to improve and learn more and get it right next time :)



Martin Ellis says:

So true.

I just got an email today saying that an ITP of mine had been closed, because it hadn’t had any activity for 365 days.

In that time, I’ve uploaded 3 new versions to mentors.debian.net, and not one bite on the mentors mailing list or irc.

What’s the point of even thinking about NM if you can’t get a single sponsor?



» Blog Archive » Thijs Kinkhorst: Package Sponsorship says:

[...] Miriam is worried that getting packages sponsored is a burden on DD’s and that she’s asking them a favour. I can understand where that comes from, but at least for me personally, that’s definitely not the case. [...]



Not so bad… » Technicalities says:

[...] It’s not unknown for people maintaining Debian packages via sponsorship to become frustrated with the process sometimes – a feeling sometimes shared by sponsors who find that the person they’re just nodding through packages. This sort of frustration with process gets pretty depressing at times so it’s a bit of a shock to see us being held up as an example a better way. Of course, the two cases covered here not the same at all but it is still good to see things like that. [...]



» Blog Archive » Mark Brown: Not so bad says:

[...] It’s not unknown for people maintaining Debian packages via sponsorship to become frustrated with the process sometimes – a feeling sometimes shared by sponsors who find that the person they’re just nodding through packages. This sort of frustration with process gets pretty depressing at times so it’s a bit of a shock to see us being held up as an example a better way. Of course, the two cases covered here not the same at all but it is still good to see things like that. [...]



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