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Anthony Towns in 2007

Anthony Towns (born 21 June 1978, Melbourne, Australia) is a computer programmer who was a long-time Debian release manager, ftpmaster team member and later the Debian Project Leader (from 17 April 2006 until 17 April 2007). He is also the secretary of Linux Australia and has been an active member of HUMBUG since the late 1990s in his home town of Brisbane, Queensland, where he has resided since 1990.



Anthony Towns joined the Debian Project in early 1998. He made significant contributions to the Debian bug tracking system[1] as well as to the network initialization scripts (as he wrote ifupdown[2]).

He also got involved in the package archive infrastructure and the release process. In 2000, he became the Debian release manager, replacing Richard Braakman, and going on to release Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 potato in August the same year.

After James Troup implemented package pools, a new way of organizing packages in the Debian archive, later the same year, Anthony Towns implemented testing[3], a new method of propagating Debian packages from unstable to frozen (and then on to stable).

Towns continued as the release manager through the release of Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 woody in 2002. He remained as the release manager until 2004, when his two previous aides Steve Langasek and Colin Watson officially replaced him. During this time, the release process faltered somewhat, as the preparation of Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 sarge was only completed in 2005.

In 2004, he decided[4] that the Debian Free Software Guidelines apply to documentation, firmware and other things in Debian, interpreting General Resolution 2004-003[5]. This prompted various other actions, cf. Debian Free Software Guidelines#Non-software content.



He ran for the position of DPL in 2005, but was defeated by Branden Robinson by a margin of 23 effective votes[6].

He ran again in 2006, and was elected as the new Debian Project Leader on 9 April 2006, beginning his term on 19 April 2006[7]. Towns was elected by the second-narrowest ever margin[8] and was the first DPL ever to face a recall vote while in office.[9] Towns was also the first DPL ever whose support by Debian Developers was reaffirmed through a General Resolution.[10] Since a great deal of Debian work takes place in Europe, Towns created the post of "Debian Second in Charge" (2IC) to lead discussion, support developers, and represent the project in locations which could more easily be reached by the runner-up candidate, Steve McIntyre, than himself.[8]

In September 2006, the Dunc-tank project started a fund-raising programme to help Debian release its next distribution, Etch, on the scheduled date of 4 December 2006.[11] Towns's involvement with Dunc-Tank came under severe criticism, including hitherto-unseen calls to end his Debian project leadership to make clear that the Dunc-Tank project was not officially supported by Debian project members. Some developers slowed down their unpaid work on Debian in response to the programme[12]. Debian "Etch" was not released in December 2006 as hoped; instead its release happened in April 2007. Nonetheless, Towns views the outcome of the Dunc Tank project as positive,[13], highlighting that Dunc-Tank opposition helped to improve quality of Debian Etch.

In 2007, after Bdale Garbee, Towns was the second DPL to not be re-elected into office while still being a candidate after his first term.


External links

Preceded by
Branden Robinson
Debian Project Leader
April 2006 - April 2007
Succeeded by
Sam Hocevar


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