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Re: Starting the derivative conversation

On Fri, 2005-07-22 at 10:31 +0300, Martin-Eric Racine wrote: 
> On Thu, 21 Jul 2005, Jeff Licquia wrote:
> > At DebConf, several of the external derivative Debian distro vendors, as
> > well as several CDD representatives, got together and talked about ways
> > in which we could better cooperate with Debian proper.  Lots of good
> > ideas were thrown around, but two strike me as being proper starting
> > points here.
> I'd like to point out that I'm the one who suggested having this meeting, 
> upon noticing that many issues brought up by package maintainers and by 
> publishers of Debian derivatives were persistantly repeated in several of 
> Debconf's talks.

Yup.  'Tis true, and many thanks to Martin-Eric for organizing it.  I
should have mentioned this in my original mail.

> We had a very productive meeting, whose conclusive Action Points were:
> 8X-----
> 1) upload the latest version of Progeny's 'picax' CD creator to Debian.

Not done yet, but will be done soon.

> 2) submit all derivative-specific patches back to Debian, to reduce the 
> delta between Debian versions of the same package as much as possible and 
> to avoid duplicated work on issues that have already been fixed.
> 3) each derivative shall publish the API of their own BTS, so that all 
> derivatives can keep track of each other's bugfixes and more easily merge 
> back fixes that apply to everyone, again to avoid duplicated work.

These two are very good goals, in theory.  However, there was some
pushback from derivers on these points, because the Debian BTS is not
always the proper place to post bugs, because people don't want to have
to check 130+ sites for bugs and changes to their packages, because some
derivers will likely not participate unless the barriers to
participation are low, and because some Debian developers have been
hostile to some or all derivers in the past.

Having a central site to coordinate this activity is one way to work
around these problems.  Obviously, it's my favorite way to solve the
problem, but it's not necessarily the best, so other suggestions are

> 4) join the debian-custom mailing list to discuss the establishment of a 
> Debian Derivatives Council, then immediately after create a separate 
> mailing list bearing the official name we'll select for the commitee, if 
> it turns out that the debian-custom list would prefer that this agenda be 
> kept separate.

So far, feedback for staying on debian-custom seems positive, so we
probably don't need to create a new list.

> Open issues:
> A) should we create a common BTS that would ease the maintainer's job of 
> keeping track of all bugs on their package as built by every derivative?

I don't think we need a full BTS as much as a "bug aggregator".  A full
BTS, it would seem, would just add to the list of sites to check.

> B) should there be a "United Debian" base CD, common to all derivatives?

It may be in our best interest to create such a beast, but I don't think
we can enforce it, or that we should expect such a thing.  People
tracking unstable, for example, will not be in a position to use it.

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