I, Iain Lane, apply for MOTU.


Iain Lane

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page


Who I am

I am a PhD student in the FP lab at the University of Nottingham, working on dependently typed programming, the purest and safest way to write the most correct code ;). I got my degree in Computer Science from the same University in July 2008. Prior to this, I grew up near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. Besides hacking, my hobbies include mountaineering, air rifle shooting and swimming. I used to be a Cub Scout leader, but to my shame have not carried this on during University. I also support the mighty Nottingham Forest, currently battling their way to safety in the Championship after a shaky couple of months in the relegation zone.

My Ubuntu story

I have been using Linux on-and-off for several years, but using Ubuntu permanently for the past ~1.5. I toyed with Mandrake, Slackware, Knoppix (installed!) and Debian over the years before settling on Ubuntu. Stupidly the thing that stopped me from taking it up full-time prior to this was that I couldn't get multiple monitor support to work how I wanted it to. This was solved for me when I replaced my two old CRTs with a single LCD, and now (almost) everything is (almost) hunky-dory. I'm pondering getting a second monitor again now though... hopefully multimon is better these days.

I just dug through my old bugmail and found that my first upload was sponsored by persia on February 2nd 2008. Ever since then I've been hooked, and have not turned back for a second.

I applied for UUC on August 14th 2008, and received the honour of Ubuntu membership (second only to a knighthood) on August 27th.

I also try to be involved with the UK LoCo team, at least in a virtual sense helping field queries on IRC.

My involvement

Areas of work

Besides general work (DaD/qa.ubuntuwire/...), I work with a couple of teams in Debian - namely pkg-cli-* (Mono and related applications) and pkg-games (fun things). I've managed to get a few packages in sync by porting our changes over to these teams, which helps both sides. There's also a special place in my heart for GHC and friends; I use these packages all the time for my Uni work so there's a certain element of self-interest in keeping up with them. As the packager/"maintainer" of goocanvasmm, I also keep up with upstream there. Glom is also a package with which I have a strange connection.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

  • Glom update/package split - required packaging a new (build-)dep (see below), and working with huats to get bakery2.6 uploaded

  • goocanvasmm - packaged a library from scratch, excellent learning process. Subsequently improved in Debian and ported back to Ubuntu (waiting for sponsorship in pkg-gnome).
  • gnome-games SRU (Intrepid)
  • gnome-terminal SRU (Intrepid)
  • adonthell{,-data}/gfax syncs (updated in Debian, pulling in Ubuntu changes to get into sync)
  • (I almost forgot this!) Getting f-spot syncable by pulling all Ubuntu patches into Debian. Hopefully it can stay that way.

Things I could do better

Sometimes I find problems with debdiffs after I ask for sponsorship for them. This is usually for stupid things like forgetting update-maintainer or the "#" in LP bugs. I'm trying to check them more thoroughly before uploading. Obviously as a MOTU I won't have anyone to check my work by default so this becomes even more imperative.

Plans for the future


I want to continue to work closely with the Debian teams I've been recently involved with. Also, I want to work to convince kaol (Debian's GHC maintainer) that team-maintenance of Haskell related packages is a good idea - maintainer-lock can become a problem here. If successful, pkg-haskell will be another exciting area for me to work in.

Agda (together with its standard library) is crying out for a package.

If bestowed with MOTUhood, I'll definitely join u-u-s and do my share of sponsorship, having helped to fill the queue myself in the past. Backports is also an area that I will consider getting involved with.

This is all in addition to the "bread and butter" QA-style work such as rcbugs and NBS, which I will obviously do too.

What I like least in Ubuntu

Hmm, this heading title is a bit negative.

After I got involved with packaging in Debian itself, I noticed that we aren't anywhere near as good at forwarding patches as we should be. There has been discussion about this on the MLs, but I don't think we're there yet. We need to be much better at feeding back to our upstreams; it really does help in the medium run. I'm also now convinced that we should encourage our contributors to more directly interact with Debian too, by encouraging them to hang around in the IRC channels of any teams they're interested in (who are likely to be able to offer better packaging help than any random MOTU) and to get fixes incorporated upstream *first* unless there is an imperative (such as a freeze) for breaking away in Ubuntu (note I don't mean that they have to necessarily be uploaded; checking them into SVN for example, or getting a commitment from the maintainer to include on the next upload would probably do if there is sufficient context in the Ubuntu upload to allow third-parties to determine this). In such cases it should be the responsibility of the contributor to ensure we get back in sync when it is feasible to do so.


If you'd like to comment, but are not the applicant or a sponsor, do it here. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.


As a sponsor, just copy the template below, fill it out and add it to this section.

Stefan Ebner (sebner)

General feedback

Unfortunately I didn't have the time to sponsor a lot from Iain but from what I've sponsored and seen from him makes me saying just one thing: FULL ACK. The does great in work in mono-packages world and other stuff and his skills speak for him.


Daniel Holbach (dholbach)

General feedback

Working with Iain is great. He works on a variety of things, is fairly active in the MOTU team and quick to respond. I sponsored like 20-25 of his packages and was always very happy with what Iain came up with. In fact, I was expecting his application earlier already. He works well with upstream and over time you could see how the area of his involvement grew.

I absolutely trust Iain.

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

Just more experience, which he'll get automatically, active as he is. Smile :-)


General feedback

Great community integration, e.g. helping people on #ubuntu-motu. Great working with others, see e.g. work with Christophe on glom-related packages. Great at working with Debian, e.g. work in pkg-cli for the Mono 2.0 transition. Great choice of football team.

I think Iain would make a great MOTU.

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

Iain is unfortunately not very good at applying for MOTU when he should, often waiting some months too long.

Jonathan Davies

General feedback

Iain does great work on fixes for the ubuntu-dev-tools package. I've never had to rejected one of his changes and he's a very knowledgeable person at helping others in #ubuntu-motu and -uk.

I would like to give my support for his MOTUship application.

Luca Falavigna

General feedback

I sponsored several packages from Iain, I've always seen a professional commitment in his work and his interaction with Debian is simply great. He's often around in #ubuntu-motu answering newcomers' questions, this makes him a good community member and a valuable developer.

Specific Experiences of working together

I sponsored packages related to GHC6 mini-transition, his help was precious to have this done before FeatureFreeze.


=== General feedback ===
## Please fill us in on your shared experience. (How many packages did you sponsor? How would you judge the quality? How would you describe the improvements? Do you trust the applicant?)

=== Specific Experiences of working together ===
''Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.''
=== Areas of Improvement ===


IainLane/MOTUApplication (last edited 2009-02-25 10:33:25 by i59F72ABA)