Steve McIntyre, Former Head of the Debian Project, visited the School of Computer Science


Debian is one of the largest, most famous, and most complex software systems in the world, and most computer users make use of it every day in some form, whether powering our desktop machines or the servers that we connect to. It is legendary for its stability and reliability and for its strong ethics and community management processes which enable them. It’s head is widely considered to be one of the best and most ethical programmers in the world.

Steve gave a pair of guest lectures to undergraduate Computer Science students at the University of Lincoln as part of their “Team Software Engineering” studies led by Dr Charles Fox, which trains them in how to manage people and projects and how to build reliable, stable software. They learned directly from Steve’s experience of managing over a thousand programmers who deliver some of the best software in the world.

Steve gave a live demonstration of updating a real Debian package on the lecture hall screen using Debian’s packaging tools and security systems. Lincoln students and staff were fascinated to learn how this successful project is built and managed: its world-leading reputation for quality is achieved via an entirely bottom-up approach to management in which all managers are elected by its members on the basis of their domain knowledge and ethical strengths.

Steve explained the ethics of Free Software and how organizations benefit from adopting it. He met with many students and researchers, and was impressed by their skills and knowledge. We hope that Debian and University of Lincoln will be able to collaborate on Free Software topics in the future.

Steve’s blog with photos and slides from his visit:


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