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Re: Bug#904558: What should happen when maintscripts fail to restart a service

Apologies for the long delay.

We discussed this issue in several TC meetings without being able to make
real progress.

After several rounds of discussions we came to the conclusion that the
reason why we can't make progress is that we always end up hitting the wall of "The Technical Committee does not engage in design of new proposals and policies". While we recognize that this is a problem worth fixing, this is not something that we can fix as a body and need the help of the Developers
to do it.

On the one hand, maintainers want to be able to notify sysadmins when
things don't go as expected. On the other hand, sysadmins don't want their systems to be left in weird/broken states because one single thing didn't
go as expected.

A failing maintscript is a horrible way of notifying sysadmins, but it's
the only one available up to now and so package maintainers use it when
they think the failure is critical enough.

So, the TC declines to rule on what should maintscripts do when failing to
(re)start a service (or otherwise encountering a similarly serious

Instead, we recommend that a work group of developers is formed, to create a better mechanism of notification that can be used to let sysadmins know
when things don't go as expected on their systems, without leaving the
machines in weird/broken states. Given that this is a problem faced by many Linux distributions, it would be nice if this mechanism was developed and published in a non Debian specific way that made it also available for other
distributions to use.

Once that mechanism exists, we would strongly recommend that almost all
failures use this mechanism, instead of failing maintscripts.

Marga, on behalf of the Technical Committee

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