From the ‘Open Source Software Democracy‘ files:
There is such a thing as democracy in software – all you need to to is look at the Debian GNU/Linux project. Unlike other Linux distributions like say Ubuntu which is run by a ‘dictator for life’ and isn’t a democracy, Debian’s Project Leader (DPL) is an elected position.
Stefano Zacchiroli was elected as the DPL late last week. Zacchiroli succeeds Steve McIntyre who has has held the DPL position since 2008 but decided not to run again this year.
“I believe that one of the most important goals of the DPL is to be a facilitator,” Zacchiroli wrote in his first DPL bits mailing list posting. “Where there are rough edges that block people out of the job they want to do, the DPL should elide them. Personally, even though I’m aware of *some* blockers, I can’t possibly know *all* of them (and, due to Murphy law, I’m surely not aware of your specific itch).”
I couldn’t agree more that communication is always the key to great leadership. In the case of Debian which is such a large effort that communication is critical to ensuring that releases occur and that the project moves forward.
Debian is now at a critical juncture as the next major distribution update codenamed ‘Squeeze’ is due for release. Debian doesn’t have an ‘official’ release manager for Squeeze but I suspect that the new DPL will be instrumental in ensuring that Squeeze makes it out the door with the quality level that Debian delivers with every release.