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What is a Debian Developer?

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Debian

When I started doing things with Debian in 1997, it was prompted by a visit from another Debian Developer. His generosity with his time, skill and advice have left an impression on me to this day about what it means to be a Debian Developer.

Virtual Moreland was just starting out with a $100,000 grant to get us moving. Some second-hand servers had been donated to run web sites and mail systems, thin clients to build a training lab. I had been using Slackware Linux for a number of years and anticipated using it for Virtual Moreland.

Fortunately, I was introduced to another local Debian Developer who pointed out the benefits of the Debian packaging system over Slackware. He brought the latest Debian archive to me on his hard disk so I could get a local mirror up and running more quickly. When I introduce people to Debian today, I hope I can be equally helpful to them.

That was before Debian had a constitution and before SPI, Inc, a US organisation which has kept many Developers off the books, had seized a Debian trademark. It was before Debian had decided to experiment with a Code of Conduct.

Today, after more than 20 years, Debian still means much the same thing for me: technical excellence. Giving back to the community. Following the principles laid out in the Debian Social Contract.

Yet being on the Debian keyring has become a poisoned chalice. After the events of 2018, it is clear that people are both added to the keyring and removed for reasons that are related to politics and control.

To put it another way, rogue elements of Debian want to flex their muscles and have the power of an employer, without paying us.

Read more

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