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Bug#750135: Status of #750135 (Maintainer of aptitude package)

2015-03-29 21:19 Tollef Fog Heen:
]] Christian PERRIER

Hi bubulle!

Quoting Axel Beckert (abe@debian.org):

> In the long run I'd like to see even more people working on Aptitude.
> But for that, a possessive lead developer or power games are quite
> hindering. IMHO one of the reasons Aptitude's development stalled
> again are those power games we've seen. So I'd prefer a solution where
> people who want to do stuff are also able to do it -- without getting
> harassed by other people involved.

So do I. And I still have admin rights on aptitude on Alioth. Even
though I'm not that much active in aptitude's development.

Here's my proposal:

- restore Manuel's commit rights
- have both me and Axel watch the aptitude-devel mailing list, not to
judge the technical validity of changes, but more following the
social aspects
- and see what happens...

It can't indeed be worse than the current situation anyway.

I see where the proposal is coming from, but I'd like to ask you to hold
off on it a little bit.  I've mailed Daniel and asked him to comment on
the bug, so hopefully we can have his input soon and get this resolved.

(Of course, if Daniel's happy with that approach, and Manuel is too,
then I don't think anybody would have a problem with it.)

The proposal of Christian could have been implemented 1 year ago, long before I
thought about submitting the issue to the CTTE.

When Daniel Hartwig removed permissions from me to commit, against the opinion
of the few people that cared to voice it, Axel and Christian refused to do this
(they were informed, and they are both admins of the project so they had the
power to do it).

And indeed, in my original request I left open the possibility of keeping Daniel
Hartwig as an admin:

 "Keeping him as member and contributing is completely fine for me; admin is
  also fine as long as somebody takes the responsibility for acting
  *immediately* if he starts doing the same things again (with me or somebody
  else).  I also think that it would be good if other people also contributed
  to this important project."

But this was only if somebody took the responsibility for *immediately*
reverting actions resulting from abusive behaviour as maintainer, should it
happen again.  10 months later without anybody doing anything about it, even
when Hartwig is MIA for many months, I do not consider this a good solution now.

So my request to the committee, independently of if I am going to get
permissions to commit again, is that Daniel Hartwig is removed as admin of the
aptitude project in Alioth, and question if he should be consider a maintainer
at all or if the package should be put out to adoption, for the reasons stated
in the original email and repeated below (now additionally with almost 10 months
being inactive/MIA since my request):

a) Technical

a.1) Daniel Burrows is the founder and only person who can say "this project is
    mine".  Neither Daniel Hartwig nor anybody around these days (including me)
    has been an historical maintainer of the package (perhaps Christian, but
    only the i18n part, AFAIK).

a.2) Daniel Hartwig arrived around Nov 2011, same as me (months after Daniel
    Burrows left).

    In practical terms, both about the "upstream" part and the package
    maintainance, Hartwig has been developing and actively maintaining aptitude
    only for less than a year -- mostly in 2011-2012, and only during a brief
    period of 2014 reacting to my return to the activity.  2013 was a barren
    year for development, bugs not addressed, and the package was NMUed for
    months without reaction.  Daniel Hartwig only released one version
    "recently", in June 2014, his previous one was in 2012-11-07.

    With the little that I did in a few weeks of 2014 (until kicked), I did
    about as much as Hartwig in 2013+2014 together, and triaged/closed more
    bugs.  I released 4 versions in early 2014, with numerous but small fixes
    -- that was the plan to try to reduce the humongous number of bugs, and
    Axel approved.

    In summary, in practical terms Hartwig has been neglecting both the
    upstream part and the package maintainance during most of the time that
    he's been listed as uploader/maintainer.

a.3) I do not claim to be a decisive developer of aptitude, and I don't want to
    be the only one taking decisions, or the sole/main admin or maintainer.

    But precisely because of that, I do not think that somebody with as little
    history and dedication in the project (both aptitude and Debian) as Hartwig
    should put himself in a position of gatekeeper of what goes into the
    project when somebody steps up after months/years of abandon, without
    giving any explanation, and only to disappear again when the sparks of new
    development are extinguished again.

    As a member of Debian, I believe that Hartwig's behaviour since 2012 has
    been harmful, and should not be allowed to repeat these actions if anybody
    with interest in reviving the project appears.

a.4) His reasons for rejecting many of my commits are not technically sound, in
    my opinion (as tech committee, I expect that you can form an opinion about
    that, if you wish).

    But crucially, one of the main reasons given was that they were interfering
    with private development which even now, more than 1 year later (and
    several years since the first announced plans), are not published.  These
    complaints were the same in 2012, when I decided to retire for the first
    time -- apparently my developments were interfering or would interfere with
    his future and unpublished changes.

b) Social

b.1) In any case, technical disagreements about my contributions did not warrant
    to take these extraordinary measures, not only against my opinion but
    against the opinion of those few who cared to express it in the mailing
    list at the time (who were at least happy of seeing some activity in
    aptitude).  I was the only one who went ahead to do something about the
    stalled development, so the only alternative to that has been the project
    activity flatlining for a year.

b.2) The refusal to give explanations or even discuss about the actions taken
    when several people are asking for it, is not acceptable in an open project
    like Debian, from my POV.

b.3) He was "member" of the project until he requested to Alioth admins to get
    admin permission of the project in Jan/Feb 2014.  The only significant
    action that he achieved with those powers was to kick me out without
    discussing it with the other admins (who, as said above, they did not want
    to undo... but that's another story).

So in summary, what I request to the CTTE is to decide:

1) if Daniel Hartwig should continue to be allowed to be admin of aptitude in

  With member status he can still commit and do any development necessary,
  should he wish so -- he does not need admin for anything practical.  I think
  that the Debian project should not allow him to continue to have admin powers
  on that project, when he acts recklessly (and Axel and Christian are admins,
  if somebody needs something done).

2) Given the stalled development in the last few years of the project, which in
  my opinion is quite important for Debian and derivatives, see if something
  more bold could be done to give more publicity and see if the project is
  revived.  For example, decide give the project up for adoption so hopefully
  somebody else --and not talking about me-- will step up.

  If I was him, by now I would have done that myself -- give the package for
  adoption, at least publish a RFH, or some message in debian-devel@... I don't
  know, but something.  I think that at this point, the Debian project as a
  whole should do something about it.

Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo <manuel.montezelo@gmail.com>

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