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Re: Backporting and some hints to contribute to Debian (was: Re: nginx)

Perhaps something like "backports-unstable", or an equivalent to the useful PPA infrastructure Canonical has, would be the useful thing to have, in order to :

- have more tested software sooner (say, firefox^Wiceweasel in a recent enough version, or openoffice 3.1, but installable over a debian lenny base - very useful for managed desktops, for instance). 
- being able to easily contribute packages which are user built and installable (say, a backport a user makes which another one could find useful - I've myself backported several small utilities I needed which I wouldn't post here because of my lack of inner knowledge of the code in order to maintain it, or the cromulent backporting I did - those could perhaps be useful to others). 

However I understand there must be huge associated costs to the PPA infrastructure, both in hardware (and they only build for 2 or 3 architectures), bandwidth and even development. 

----- Mensaje original ----
> De: Alexander Reichle-Schmehl <alexander@schmehl.info>
> Para: backports-users@lists.backports.org
> Enviado: mar,19 enero, 2010 11:13
> Asunto: Backporting and some hints to contribute to Debian (was: Re: nginx)
> Hi!
> Jan Ingvoldstad schrieb:
> > It's repeated examples like these that make me realize why there are so few
> > useful backports, and it also keeps me from contributing.
> > 
> > Perhaps contribution will be appreciated one day, who knows.
> I think one must distinguish with "contribute to backports" and "contribute to 
> Debian".  I think every one of us welcomes you to contribute to Debian in 
> general (see bellow for some hints).  It's just that while backporting looks 
> very easy in the first glance, there are quite some things which can go horribly 
> wrong (e.g.:  One recent example:  Should I backport automake 1.11 or do I dig 
> through that stuff and see how to get it working with automake 1.10?)  Therefore 
> I agree, that backporting should not be your starting point.
> Here some hints how to start to contribute to Debian (with technical / packaging 
> skills; there are plenty of other ways to contribute):
> 1. Install the package "devscript".
> 1a) Run the command "wnpp-alert".  This package will list all packages you have 
> currently installed on your system (I guess, if it's installed, you are 
> interested in them being as good as possible, aren't you?), which are currently 
> not maintained at all, the maintainer is seeking a successor or is generally in 
> need of some help.  Take a look at the list and the packages, and see, if you 
> would like to maintain them.
> You can also get a complete list on the web at 
> http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/rfa_bypackage ("Request for adoption"; current 
> maintainer seeks a succesor) and http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/orphaned (no 
> one maintains this package actively).
> 1b) Run the command "rc-alert".  This package will list all release critical 
> bugs for packages installed on your system. (Again: If it's installed, you are 
> interested...).  Look through these bugs; try to reproduce them (often 
> maintainers can't reproduce them and are glad to be informed about the steps to 
> do so) and try to find a fix.  Once you have one, send your patch to the bug 
> report.  Should the maintainer not react, you can prepare a "Non maintainer 
> upload" and ask for a sponsor.
> 2) Contribute to your favourite packages; look through the bugs and propose 
> patches.  You can also join package teams or offer co-maintainance.  This is 
> especially a nice way to join slowly and learn how things are done.
> 3) Take care of general qa.  As you have seen by running wnpp-alert and looking 
> at the list of orphaned packages, there are quite some packages not actively 
> maintained.  Even if you don't want to take over maintenance in the long run, 
> you can prepare "qa" uploads.  Fix Bugs, prepare new upstream versions, take 
> care of the "small things" like watch files and standards version.  Ask for 
> sponsorship of your prepared uploads.
> Best regards,
>   Alexander, who is sure, that he forgot quite some "easy start" areas.

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