How Debian Almost Failed to Elect a Project Leader

Five candidates now are running to be Debian’s project leader for the coming year. But earlier this week, Slashdot reader Seven Spirals shared LWN’s story about what a difficult election it’s been:

This year, the call for nominations was duly sent out by project secretary Kurt Roeckx on March 3. But, as of March 10, no eligible candidates had put their names forward… There is nobody there to do any campaigning.

This being Debian, the constitution naturally describes what is to happen in this situation: the nomination period is extended for another week… Should this deadline also pass without candidates, it will be extended for another week; this loop will repeat indefinitely until somebody gives in and submits their name… In the absence of a project leader, the chair of the technical committee and the project secretary are empowered to make decisions — as long as they are able to agree on what those decisions should be. Since Debian developers are famously an agreeable and non-argumentative bunch, there should be no problem with that aspect of things…

One might well wonder, though, why there seems to be nobody who wants to take the helm of this project for a year. The fact that it is an unpaid position requiring a lot of time and travel might have something to do with it. If that were indeed to prove to be part of the problem, Debian might eventually have to consider doing what a number of similar organizations have done and create a paid position to do this work.

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