The Debian Project Leader elections 2014 are about to start, and one of the candidates talks about the possibility of getting official support for PPA for the Debian project, similar with the what's happening on the Ubuntu platform.
The Debian Project is somewhat of a democracy, but with even more freedom than you can imagine. Once a year, the Debian developers choose a Project Leader, which is more or less a sort of president. He has a number of prerogatives, like representing the interests of the Debian community when dealing with other projects and to attend conferences and trade shows.
This leader also has to coordinate with the internal Debian teams and developers, delegate work, and ensure proper team communication. One of the most important aspects of this job is that the Project Leader is actually a manger and he has to shape Debian according to his vision.
The elections are held once a year and any developer can participate by nominating himself. During the campaign, the candidates can try to convince others to vote for them by sharing their ideas for the project, just like a regular politician does, but without any baby kissing.
This is where things become interesting. One of the remaining candidates in the race, former Release Manager Neil McGovern, is proposing a new idea, which is the implementation of PPAs (Personal Package Archives) for Debian to solve a problem.
“We need ensure that we cater to our users, and there's millions of them. From those running the latest software in unstable, to people who simply want a rock solid core release. The size of Debian is increasing, and will reach a point where we're unable to guarantee basic compatibility with other packages, or the length of time it takes to do so becomes exponentially longer, unless something changes,” said Neil McGovern.
Ubuntu uses this system of PPAs, and it seems to thrive. PPAs are like small repositories used by developers to make their latest packages available for the users without having to get them into the main repository. This usually involves lots of testing and can take a while. In this way, Debian developers and users could be able to install and run the latest version of an app as soon as it hits the PPA.
Right now, there are only two candidates left, current project leader Lucas Nussbaum and Neil McGovern. The campaign is set to last until March 30, so only after the election will we see if the PPA idea comes to fruition.