Feeds

Debian all business with Lenny and Squeeze

From Toy Story to tough times

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Steve McIntyre knew he faced a huge task when he took on the job of Debian project leader nearly six months ago. But he didn't reckon on the scandal of a major security bug, followed by a massive clear-up operation within a few days of taking over.

As if this wasn't enough McIntyre also faced a backlog of approvals for new Debian developers and the lead up to DebConf8, the annual gathering of Debian developers, in August. And then there were the preparations for the new release of Debian (Lenny) in October and the death threats to female contributors to the Debian project.

"I had a fair idea that it would be a tough job and I suppose I have made life harder for myself by taking on so much," McIntyre told The Register in an interview following Debian's 15th birthday.

"But the role is largely self-defining - you can do as much or as little as you choose. I have got a lot of technical work on Debian of my own and everything piled up around DebConf8 last month."

Debian's position as one of the most important Linux distributions, coupled with a reputation for high quality and reliability, places a huge burden on the volunteer development team and, of course, the project leader. As soon as McIntyre moved into the hot seat, he set about improving communications and promoting better collaboration among the widely spread volunteer community.

Time on your hands?

In addition to the day-to-day problems of running an open source project staffed by volunteers, McIntyre has also had to contend with two unique problems that flow from the current economic downturn. On the one hand organizations want to cut costs and see open source software as a potential solution - resulting in unprecedented demand for open source products. But on the other hand, many volunteer developers are fighting for survival and may find they have less time to spend on building new code.

McIntyre said that, while there was no doubt about the increase in demand for open source, it is too early to tell what effect the bad times will have on development.

"It is amazing how many people want to use open source now - I guess they are fed up with having to cough up for license fees. On the development side we do have people who have been let go around the industry and this will put more pressure on those that are left. We'll have to wait and see what happens."

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Next page: Focus on process

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.