Maintainer's resignation highlights problems in Debian project

The resignation of Matthew Garrett, one of the most active developers in Debian, has drawn attention to some ongoing issues about how the project operates. Specifically, Garrett's announcement on his blog cites a lack of civility and a slowness in decision-making, and compares Debian unfavorably to Ubuntu, the Debian-derived distribution which is increasingly attracting the efforts of many Debian maintainers.

Garrett did not hold any office in Debian, although he was a candidate for project leader in 2005. However, he has been consistently active in policy discussions and an active poster on the debian-devel and debian-legal mailing lists. In addition, he has been one of four members of Ubuntu's technical board, and doing work on laptop support for Ubuntu. He is described as "high-profile" by Benjamin Mako Hill, another active Debian maintainer. Steve McIntyre, who is currently acting as assistant to the Debian Leader says, "Most of the Debian Developers are sorry to see Matthew leave." Some, like McIntyre himself, have blogged about it.