Feeds

Debian all business with Lenny and Squeeze

From Toy Story to tough times

Boost IT visibility and business value

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."

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Focus on process

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.