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Old 07-26-2012, 07:44 PM
Svante Signell
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

On Thu, 2012-07-26 at 15:24 -0400, Michael Gilbert wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 9:02 AM, Svante Signell wrote:
> > I can give a few examples of outdated packages having non-responsive
> > maintainers, wine is one of them. See the wishlist bugs! Finally a set
> > of NMUs solved that problem.
>
> Pointing at wine at this point is a red herring. A group of
> interested volunteers fixed it. That's how these problems get solved.

I happened to be the bug submitter for the wine 1.2 series, #585409 it
is dated June 10 2010!

> If a you see an out-of-date package, please volunteer your time to
> help fix it. If you're not a DD, you can do the work and send a
> message to debian-mentors.

I have tried several times and I can give you a recent example, see
#610209 and especially #669368. I have tried to contribute, but to no
avail (at least in this case).

> We've also started various discussions and changes toward making it
> more straightforward to fix these types of situations. e.g.:
> http://bugs.debian.org/681833

Good to know! Progress is being made.



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Old 07-26-2012, 08:35 PM
Russ Allbery
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

Svante Signell <svante.signell@telia.com> writes:
> On Thu, 2012-07-26 at 15:24 -0400, Michael Gilbert wrote:

>> If a you see an out-of-date package, please volunteer your time to help
>> fix it. If you're not a DD, you can do the work and send a message to
>> debian-mentors.

> I have tried several times and I can give you a recent example, see
> #610209 and especially #669368. I have tried to contribute, but to no
> avail (at least in this case).

I think a relevant question here (other than whether Tollef wants
co-maintainers and the fact that it's too late to be uploading new
versions for wheezy now anyway) is whether the project wants to allow NMUs
to fix Hurd issues (not *now*, obviously, but back in April or May).
Historically, my impression is that people didn't want the Hurd porters to
do that, or for others to do that on their behalf, on the grounds that
Hurd support is not yet (sufficiently) important to the project.

I admit to personally having also postponed making Hurd-specific fixes
until it was convenient for me rather than acting on them right away as I
would have for releaseable ports, but I'm trying to get better about that,
since I know it's demotivating for the Hurd porters.

Looking at the changelog, I wonder if the change in 0.24:

- Use /proc/self/mountinfo for bind mount detection; recent distributions
symlink /etc/mtab to /proc/self/mounts, losing information we need.

is important for us, given that we're now symlinking /etc/mtab to
/proc/mounts.

--
Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>


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Old 07-26-2012, 10:04 PM
Michael Gilbert
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 3:44 PM, Svante Signell wrote:
>> If a you see an out-of-date package, please volunteer your time to
>> help fix it. If you're not a DD, you can do the work and send a
>> message to debian-mentors.
>
> I have tried several times and I can give you a recent example, see
> #610209 and especially #669368. I have tried to contribute, but to no
> avail (at least in this case).

While it's nice that you've prepared a package for the new mlocate
upstream version, getting it done after the freeze is simply far too
late. Also, for packages that haven't been updated in a very long
time (two years in this case), a much better bet for a productive
exchange is to get it in front of -mentors instead of just the
(possibly mia) maintainer.

Best wishes,
Mike


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Old 07-26-2012, 10:09 PM
Russ Allbery
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

Michael Gilbert <mgilbert@debian.org> writes:
> On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 3:44 PM, Svante Signell wrote:

>> I have tried several times and I can give you a recent example, see
>> #610209 and especially #669368. I have tried to contribute, but to no
>> avail (at least in this case).

> While it's nice that you've prepared a package for the new mlocate
> upstream version, getting it done after the freeze is simply far too
> late. Also, for packages that haven't been updated in a very long time
> (two years in this case), a much better bet for a productive exchange is
> to get it in front of -mentors instead of just the (possibly mia)
> maintainer.

In this case, the maintainer is definitely not MIA. Prompted by this
thread, I looked over the open bugs (and took the liberty of tagging a
couple since I was looking them over anyway), and they seem fairly
well-triaged to me and most have a maintainer response. The only issue
with the package that I see at the moment is that there's a Hurd issue
solved by an upstream release, and another upstream fix that might be
relevant to Debian. (The other upstream fixes are pretty minor.) There's
some other pending work, which is mostly minor.

--
Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>


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Old 07-26-2012, 10:15 PM
Michael Gilbert
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 6:09 PM, Russ Allbery wrote:
>> While it's nice that you've prepared a package for the new mlocate
>> upstream version, getting it done after the freeze is simply far too
>> late. Also, for packages that haven't been updated in a very long time
>> (two years in this case), a much better bet for a productive exchange is
>> to get it in front of -mentors instead of just the (possibly mia)
>> maintainer.
>
> In this case, the maintainer is definitely not MIA. Prompted by this
> thread, I looked over the open bugs (and took the liberty of tagging a
> couple since I was looking them over anyway), and they seem fairly
> well-triaged to me and most have a maintainer response.

True. Part of the problem is appropriate terminology. This is a case
of what I would call an "undermaintained" package. Even though the
maintainer is still around, and may be quite active elsewhere, this
package has not gotten any attention in 2 years (even though multiple
upstreams have been released in the meantime).

This would be a case where I think liberal NMUing would certainly be
appropriate (of course prior to the freeze). It's not really
appropriate to forcefully remove the maintainer, but for volunteers
interested in the package, they should feel free to help improve it
while it is in its "undermaintained" state.

Best wishes,
Mike


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Old 07-26-2012, 10:58 PM
Russ Allbery
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

Michael Gilbert <mgilbert@debian.org> writes:
> On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 6:09 PM, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> In this case, the maintainer is definitely not MIA. Prompted by this
>> thread, I looked over the open bugs (and took the liberty of tagging a
>> couple since I was looking them over anyway), and they seem fairly
>> well-triaged to me and most have a maintainer response.

> True. Part of the problem is appropriate terminology. This is a case
> of what I would call an "undermaintained" package. Even though the
> maintainer is still around, and may be quite active elsewhere, this
> package has not gotten any attention in 2 years (even though multiple
> upstreams have been released in the meantime).

Putting aside this specific example, I don't think the criteria you're
using to evaluate whether a package is undermaintained is valid. It's not
always correct that maintainers should be blindly packaging every upstream
release, and if upstream releases are minor and not important to Debian,
it's perfectly reasonable to not prioritize that packaging among the
various other things that one is doing.

> This would be a case where I think liberal NMUing would certainly be
> appropriate (of course prior to the freeze).

Yeah, I guess that makes sense, *if* the person doing the NMU then owns
any bugs they introduce and of course doesn't do anything drastic like
rewriting the build system. And provides plenty of warning.

--
Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>


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Old 07-26-2012, 11:20 PM
Svante Signell
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

On Thu, 2012-07-26 at 15:58 -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Michael Gilbert <mgilbert@debian.org> writes:
> > On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 6:09 PM, Russ Allbery wrote:
...
> > This would be a case where I think liberal NMUing would certainly be
> > appropriate (of course prior to the freeze).
>
> Yeah, I guess that makes sense, *if* the person doing the NMU then owns
> any bugs they introduce and of course doesn't do anything drastic like
> rewriting the build system. And provides plenty of warning.

Please, what can I do being a _contributor_ compared to these "high
level package maintainers", except filing bug reports. Please advice a
stupid user who just wants to be using Debian as a GNU/* release(and
having recent software in them) .


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Old 07-26-2012, 11:45 PM
Michael Gilbert
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM, Svante Signell wrote:
>> Yeah, I guess that makes sense, *if* the person doing the NMU then owns
>> any bugs they introduce and of course doesn't do anything drastic like
>> rewriting the build system. And provides plenty of warning.
>
> Please, what can I do being a _contributor_ compared to these "high
> level package maintainers", except filing bug reports. Please advice a
> stupid user who just wants to be using Debian as a GNU/* release(and
> having recent software in them) .

Anyone, anyone at all, can prepare an NMU (non-maintainer upload), but
non-DDs need to find a sponsor to do the actual upload (best
coordinated via mentors). See:
http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/developers-reference/pkgs.html#nmu
http://mentors.debian.net

Best wishes,
Mike


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Old 07-26-2012, 11:46 PM
Russ Allbery
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

Svante Signell <svante.signell@telia.com> writes:
> On Thu, 2012-07-26 at 15:58 -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> Yeah, I guess that makes sense, *if* the person doing the NMU then owns
>> any bugs they introduce and of course doesn't do anything drastic like
>> rewriting the build system. And provides plenty of warning.

> Please, what can I do being a _contributor_ compared to these "high
> level package maintainers", except filing bug reports.

Take a deep breath, absorb the lesson that patience is vital when working
on volunteer projects, and realize that problems that you consider
critical are not necessarily prioritized that highly by other people.
(All useful for Debian developers too, for that matter.)

--
Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>


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Old 07-26-2012, 11:51 PM
Michael Gilbert
 
Default RFC: Why are so many debian packages outdated?

On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 6:58 PM, Russ Allbery wrote:
>> True. Part of the problem is appropriate terminology. This is a case
>> of what I would call an "undermaintained" package. Even though the
>> maintainer is still around, and may be quite active elsewhere, this
>> package has not gotten any attention in 2 years (even though multiple
>> upstreams have been released in the meantime).
>
> Putting aside this specific example, I don't think the criteria you're
> using to evaluate whether a package is undermaintained is valid. It's not
> always correct that maintainers should be blindly packaging every upstream
> release, and if upstream releases are minor and not important to Debian,
> it's perfectly reasonable to not prioritize that packaging among the
> various other things that one is doing.

Agreed. It is more complicated than just length of time without an
upload, but that is a very straightforward quantity to look up and
keep track of.

If one sees a package that has not been uploaded in 2 years (or 6
months or however long), I think we should make it so that they can
feel free to liberal NMU it with a 10-day delay. If the maintainer
was really planning to hold the package back for some reason, they can
always cancel that (preferably with some kind of note as to why).

Best wishes,
Mike


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