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Bits from the (chilly) release team

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As I'm writing this mail, Adam D. Barratt (adsb) is currently giving a
presentation at Debconf about "Bits from the Release Team". This is the
mail version for those who can't make it to New York. It contains some
important information, so please read it through to the end!

Team membership changes

After a little absence of formal release managers, we're pleased to
announce that Adam and myself are the new Release Managers.
Additionally, Luk Claes is now a Release Wizard. Myself and the rest of
the team would like to take this opportunity to thank Luk for his years
of hard work which has certainly improved Debian in immesureable ways.

We are still looking for enthusiastic DDs who would be interested in
joining the team and helping us to make Squeeze the great release we all
believe it can be.  If you're interested, please contact us at
debian-release@lists.debian.org or on #debian-release.

Current status

As mentioned in the previous mail, we would freeze when various
transitions are completed or being handled. We now feel that this stage
has been reached. This means that we have stopped the automatic
migration of packages from unstable to testing.

In other words, Squeeze has frozen. Thanks are due to everyone who has
helped get us to this point.

Perhaps that's too subtle:
     _==_ _   
   _,(",)|_|    *** Frosty says Squeeze is FROZEN. ***
    \/. \-|     (He's in Austrailia, as it's winter there - 
  __( :  )|___  that's what the shovel is for, sandcastles)

Don't Panic!

Even though Squeeze has frozen, that doesn't mean it's impossible to get
your changes into Squeeze.

Now to explain what, exactly, we mean by "freeze".  The freeze upload
policy of uploading changes in through unstable if possible will be
continued to apply until the release.

Packages that are present in unstable today will be automatically
allowed into testing; this does not mean your package should be in
testing by now, but only in unstable.

If your package has a particular change that you feel really, really
needs to make the release, talk to us and we can discuss it.

What now?

Now, so as not to have everyone contact us at once about packages we
know we won't approve, here are the guidelines for changes that will be
accepted into testing during the freeze:

  - fixes for release critical bugs (i.e., bugs of severity critical,
    grave, and serious) in all packages;

  - changes for release goals, if they are not invasive;

  - fixes for severity: important bugs in packages of priority: optional
    or extra, only when this can be done via unstable;

  - translation updates and

  - documentation fixes.

  - pre-approved fixes.

  - as above, important changes that the maintainer feels are *NEEDED*
    before release

If you have such a change and want to update your package in squeeze, the
rules are as follows:

  - In all cases, when preparing an upload, please do not make changes to
    the package that are not related to fixing the bugs in question.
    Doing so makes it more time consuming for the release team to review
    and approve such requests, delaying the release.  It also delays the
    fix for your package, because you will be asked to reupload. Always
    document every change verbosely in the changelog.

  - If in doubt, first contact debian-release.

  - When contacting the release team, please explain why you are
    requesting an update.  Bug numbers are a must.  Attach the proposed
    (or uploaded) patch.  The more we can figure out from your first email
    and your changelog (if any), the more quickly we can get your update

  - If your package needs to be updated for Squeeze, and the version in
    unstable doesn't contain extraneous changes (e.g, the version is the
    same between testing and unstable), please upload your fix to
    unstable and contact debian-release@lists.debian.org.

  - If the version in unstable already includes significant changes not
    related to the bug to be fixed, contact debian-release about
    uploading to testing-proposed-updates.  Changed dependencies, new
    upstream versions, changed library names, and completely rewriting
    the packaging are "significant changes".  So are lots of other

  - If the version in unstable won't reach testing because of new
    library dependencies, contact debian-release about uploading to

  - If you have a package that needs a freeze exception, *please* don't
    forget to contact us.  *Don't expect us to find out about it on our
    own*.  Putting a comment in the changelog is not contacting the
    release team. :)

  - If your package has been removed recently (i.e. in the last 20 days)
    due to an RC bug, and you have an bugfix-only update uploaded,
    you can contact the release team about letting your package back in.
    Same as above: Do not expect us to find it out ourselves. You need to
    push that.

As always, it is the release team's goal to get as much good software
into Squeeze as possible.  However, a freeze does not mean that your
package is ensured a spot in the release.  Please continue to stay on
top of release-critical bugs in packages that you maintain; RC bugs in
optional or extra packages that remain unfixed after a week will still
be grounds for removal from testing. Please also try and encourage
packages you depend on with RC bugs. We'd like to avoid removing lots of
packages with dependencies if possible, and your help can be valuable.

Please also note that since many updates (hopefully, the vast majority)
will still be going in through unstable, major changes in unstable right
now can disrupt efforts to get RC bugs fixed.  We don't ask you not to
make changes in unstable, but we do ask that you be aware of the effects
your changes can have -- especially if you maintain a library. Please
continue to keep disruptive changes out of unstable, and continue making
use of experimental where appropriate.  Note that you can stage NEW uploads
in experimental to avoid disruption in unstable.

Also, in case you need the release team's help to fix RC bugs (e.g. to remove
an old package), please feel free to contact us.

For packages which missed the freeze only for reasons outside of the
control of the maintainers, we might be generous, but you need to contact
us on your own, and you need to contact us soon.

RC bugs

For the release, we need to get rid of all release critical bugs. Please
don't hesitate, pick any bug from
http://bts.turmzimmer.net/details.php?bydist=squeeze and fix it. Or send in a
patch in case there is none yet. And of course, follow our permanent BSP
policy for your NMUs. Uploading works as you are used to -- just remember to
send an e-mail to debian-release@lists.debian.org to get your fix through.

Neil McGovern
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