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Linux 2003
Conference and Tutorials
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Thurs 31st July - Sun 3rd August 2003
Edinburgh, Scotland

Martin Michlmayr - Debian

Managing Debian

Papers (PDF) and Slides (HTML)

With over 800 official Debian developers, more than 200 contributors and almost 10,000 packages, Debian is one of the largest Free Software projects in existence today. An important question is how Debian actually works. How can so many volunteers, distributed all over the world, work together effectively and produce a distribution with such a high degree of complexity? Debian's infrastructure, which allows the large body of participants to work together and produce an integrated system, will be presented in the talk. Management activities in the project will also be covered.

It is often claimed that Free Software projects are not centrally managed or that such project manage themselves. However, someone has to coordinate such visible efforts or else nothing would work. The talk will introduce the roles involved in coordination within Debian and the mechanisms the people employ to carry out their management work. In particular, the tasks of the Release Manager and the Debian Project Leader will be investigated. However, it will also be asked whether there are more, perhaps less central, efforts of coordination.


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