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Re: Brainstorm: derivatives integration into Debian infrastructure

On Mar 14, 2011, at 13:14, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 12, 2011 at 12:22:53PM +0800, Paul Wise wrote:

>> So, this is a brainstorm thread about ways in which we can integrate
>> information about derivatives into Debian infrastructure. To start us
>> off I've added an idea (Planet Debian Downstream) to the wiki page at
>> [2]. If you have any more ideas based on the current content of pages
>> at [1] or can see some interesting information that might be missing
>> from the census template[3] please mention them here or add them to
>> the wiki page at [2].
> So, another one which comes to my mind (although I believe it's you
> mentioned it to me in the past) is PTS integration like what we are
> currently doing with Ubuntu. For maintainers, it would be a dream to
> have a sort of dashboard from which they can monitor all the deltas of
> their packages classified per derivative distribution. Achieving that
> with per-distro importers would be probably a pain, especially
> considering that small derivatives generally attract less interest than
> more popular derivatives. So, the ideal way to get there, would probably
> be (for Debian) to advertise a standard interface supported by the PTS
> that would enable integration of per-derivative patch
> information.

This is a great idea and would potentially be able to show how far the derivatives have drifted from Debian.

> Ideally, given that small derivatives are also likely to have less
> people power than more popular derivatives, we should also try to
> provide a software layer that enable to generate the needed information
> out of, say, an archive of Debian source packages. That could probably
> come as a release of the source code of patch-tracker.d.o, after having
> made it independent of Debian (I haven't checked with Sean how much it
> is so, but is likely to have Debian-specific assumptions).
> Similarly, it would be nice to monitor of all those patches, their
> status wrt forward upstream (either Debian or the original upstream
> author). That could be done if we will manage to popularize DEP 3 patch
> tagging guidelines.
> As an intermediate step in between the above and the status quo,
> collecting per-package URL schemes pointing to $VCS of a specific
> package would be a nice addition as well. The use case of that would be
> having something like a "--distro $name" flag for debcheckout, enabling
> developers of any derivative to quickly access the current head of work
> being done in other derivatives.

Why don't we test this out with Maemo? There are a lot of Debian Developers and Debian users who have N900s and with Nokia's recent turn to the Dark Side we might be able to build momentum for interest in long term support for the N900 inside Debian. debcheckout could be a useful early tool in this allowing developers to check out the Maemo source and push changes back to Maemo and at the same time easily build packages that build inside Debian's infrastructure.

debcheckout looks to be a perl script which follows fairly current best practices and seems an ideal platform to begin testing this kind of derivative integration. I'll start hacking a bit by adding a --maemo option and see if I can get the maemo source code repo to be pulled in. 

One thing to note is that many of the derivatives tend not to have the same discipline and organization as Debian does. So repos, source tarballs, etc. can be hard to track down.



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