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Re: Intro to tasks files (Was: IRC meeting of games team)


just publishing the public part of a private mail as yet another
intro into tasks files.

On Tue, 2011-11-22 at 21:46 +0100, Andreas Tille wrote:
Hi Chris,

On Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 02:51:20PM +0000, Chris Carr wrote:
> I just got your other email while I was typing this! Thanks for
> approving my membership of the DPB team.

> > Just be bold and start doing something.  If there are some bugs we can
> > simply fix them later (I always have an eye on any commit anyway and
> > will try to prevent any problem).
> Many thanks for your encouraging reply

Beeing a DD since 1998 I learned that in most cases people are just way
to shy compared to their skills.  So I usually try to encourage people.

> - I am not a DD (or even a DM,
> yet) and I don't know my way around the Debian infrastructure very
> well.

I'll try to patiently answer your questions who stupid they might seem
to you in the first place.  Usually they are not.  (Chinese saying: Who
is asking much is stupid.  Who never asks will remain it for ever.)

Please forgive me in case I might CC some public list when answering
some questions in a wider forum.  Sometimes it is of general interest
and it would be a shame if knowledge which should be public would be
hidden in private mail exchange.  Potential lists are pkg-games as well
as debian-blends@lists.debian.org.  If you might become comfortable with
the Blends concept and might want to take over this role for the games
team it might make sense to subscribe there.  It's a quite low volume
list (unfortunately).

I currently have a lot of sponsees, but I promise if you
would sponsor one package per relevant contribution to the tasks
(relevant in this context means creating a new task or reworking an
existing task to a certain extend).  This should be doable for me and
challenging enough for you. :-)

It's a shame we have several teams who are not properly managed (for
this purpose I was mentoring the team-metrics GSoC project which creates
graphs like these:

and perhaps as comparison my pet project Debian Med


Considering the fact that medicine applications potentially have at
least one order of maginitude less (Debian) users than games it is hard
to understand why the graphs in Debian Med are somehow growing over time
and Games seems to have passed some maximum point and is loosing active
people now.  My personal explanation is a lack of management (like
inviting newcomers) and not a lack of time.
> But I have some questions:
> 1. How would I go about creating the task file? Your earlier mail had
> an svn link - so do I need to checkout an svn repo and then commit the
> new tasks file?

Yes.  That's all.  The tasks files *can* be used to create useful
metapackages (games-*) which enable simple installation of say

   apt-get install games-rougelike

to install all rougelike games with one mouse click (synaptic and
friends) / one command line.  Historically those metapackages used to
be the only usage for the tasks but I do not consider the Games tasks
files in a shape where this makes sense.

Later I realised that we need some web oage to simply answer the
questions of newcomers to answer the question: "What exactly will I
get from <Blend X>".  So I invented the so called tasks pages:


When I did so I realised that this page could serve as a nice Quality
Assurance tool (new versions, translation status, missing debtags etc.)
After thinking more about QA I invented the bugs pages keeping in mind
that people who are focussing on a special kind of packages might be
the better bug hunters than random people.  So there is also


Warning: The later link is currently NOT updated due to some issues
with the database behind (UDD).  If you are considering looking at
up to data pages go to my development server

The main idea behind all these use case of tasks files is to use them as
central management tool for all.  So if you maintain one file you get
all this stuff for free.  The web pages (except the alioth-bugs page)
are updated daily.  So if you create the rougelike tasks file at the
next day you can see the result.

> And being a member of Debian Pure Blends would allow
> me to push my commit back upstream?

Yes (even if I would not call it "upstream" but Debian native).  At
maximum 24h after you commited your changes you can see the effect on
the web site.  For sure I can do a manual triggering of the scripts in
example cases (or I can also teach you how to trigger the generation if
you like).
> 2. Do I need to contact the maintainers of other roguelike packages
> before adding their packages to the task file? (This is really what I
> meant by collaboration.)

Ahh, OK.  Well, there is no real need to do so - but it might help
pointing them to the result.  Perhaps we might win some more supporters
if they like it.  For sure I appreciate if you are seeking for
collaboration in this sense.

> 3. What is a task file? Is it basically a metapackage for managing
> packages in a blend?

... and from your other mail ...
> Ok, I think I found the answers to #3 here:
> http://anonscm.debian.org/viewvc/blends/projects/games/trunk/debian-games/tasks/
> I'm happy to prepare a tasks file for roguelike games which looks like
> these. Would it be better if I emailed it to you, or are there any
> basic instructions for my question #1 somewhere?

As I said: Just be bold and commit what you did.  I'm subscribed to the
blends-commit mailing list and you can be sure I'll watch any commit of
newcomers and will correct and explain in case of problems.
> ... sorry if these are stupid questions - I had not seen the docs that
> you linked in your second email - I'll go and read those now and come
> back if I have more questions.

... please also come back in case you are lacking some information in
the docs.  It's somehow strange that even if I talk at any DebConf and
several other events only so few people know about this concept.
> Sorry in advance if it takes me some time to contribute anything useful!

No problem.  Just take your time.

Hope this helps to get a first intro



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