Re: Idea for maintaining packages up for adoption
Steve Langasek <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> Packages need to have maintainers -- meaning, someone needs to take
> responsibility for the package. Orphaned packages *routinely* slip into
> stable releases with release critical bugs that have been in the package
> for a year or more, sometimes even introduced by a QA upload. We don't
> know if these packages have users, but we *do* know there's no one in a
> position of responsibility over the packages who's using them and is
> fixing bugs that appear during use!
After having spent a couple of hours looking at the bug database for
orphaned packages yesterday, my feeling is that what orphaned packages
really need are users who will actually use reportbug.
Yes, they also need maintainers to fix the bugs or apply patches, but the
vast majority of packages that I looked at have no bugs or only a few
wishlist or porter bugs, no significant problem reports from people who
actually use the package. And yet, we know from cases like dvidvi that
apparently people have run into bugs and have even fixed for themselves,
but there's no sign at all of this activity in the BTS.
I think that if we had active users of a package who would report the bugs
when they happen, orphaned packages wouldn't be as much of a risk. They
have undetected RC bugs not because there isn't a maintainer so much as
because there are no users reporting those bugs into the BTS.
> If you think there is an application missing from Debian, perhaps you
> should file an RFP.
I agree with most of what you say, but sadly, right now, I don't think
this is useful advice. I personally have a lot of generic porting
experience, and would in some cases be willing to package software that I
don't personally care about because other people would find it useful, but
the RFP process is not currently useful for locating such software.
There may be other tools available that I don't know about, but I would
personally be surprised if anyone could extract useful information from
<http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/requested> in its current form, other
than searching for software one is packaging just for BTS cleanliness and
to avoid creating duplicate bugs. I also wonder how many people using
reportbug to file RFP bugs actually read through the full list of
outstanding requests to make sure the package isn't already listed under
The rest of WNPP is very useful, but RFP isn't as much. I'm not entirely
sure what would make it more useful. Perhaps aggressively closing any RFP
that's been open for more than six months or a year would help?
Russ Allbery (email@example.com) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>