Tl;DR: This is a summary of discussion held during the summer and fall of 2019 surrounding Git packaging in Debian. We already had consensus calls and review periods, but I never got to send out a final write up. At the end of the recommendations is a section of help wanted items. If you'd like to get involved in making Git usage in Debian more uniform, please look at those. The summary/consensus call for most of recommendations starts at . However, there is an earlier consensus call  and some discussion of native packages . : https://email@example.com : https://firstname.lastname@example.org : https://email@example.com THE RECOMMENDATIONS For All Packages ================ * If you host your package on a platform like salsa.debian.org that supports merge requests, it is recommended that you accept merge requests and process them. On salsa, setting your notification setting to 'watch' for a given repository with give you email notifications for incoming merge requests. It is not reasonable to leave merge requests enabled and ignore them; if you do not plan to process merge requests, disable the feature. * Maintainers are expected to process patches in the bts. You can provide merge requests as an option, but you need to still process patches received via the bts. * If your upstream uses Git, it is recommended that you use Git as the version control system for your packaging. * Using vcs-git and related fields to document where your packaging is found is recommended. Find an Existing Team ===================== If there is an existing packaging team that your package fits into, join that team and package it there. Use their recommended Git packaging practices. See the Team Recommendation below if you are setting up a new team. When There is no Team ===================== This recommendation is intended for people who are simply looking for an approach that will work well with approaches others are using. If you are packaging something in a large team, follow their existing practices. If you are setting up a new team, see the recommendation for teams. If you have your own ideas about what you'd like to do and choose to disregard this recommendation, that is also fine. If you do not already know the answer you want, this recommendation is for you. If you are a Debian Developer packaging a package for inclusion in Debian, you should store your packaging information in one repository per package on salsa.debian.org in the debian group. That is you should create a repository under https://salsa.debian.org/debian . You should make sure that at least one person sets their notification level to 'watch' rather than global. This way you will receive notifications of merge requests and changes. Hopefully you will choose to monitor merge requests for your repository. If not, turn off merge requests. If you enable merge requests, you should be as responsive to merge requests as you are patches in the BTS. You should document the branch format (such as patches unapplied (gbp pq)) that your repository uses. Best practice for documenting this is still evolving. One option is to document your branch format in debian/README.source. Alternatively if you use `dgit push-source`, your source format is documented in maintainer tags. If you are not a Debian Developer, you cannot directly create a repository in the debian group. If you're willing to wait for a Debian Developer to create a repository for you and grant you access, do that. If that wait would be long enough to frustrate you or demotivate you, you should create a repository in a your personal namespace on salsa.debian.org and store your package there. By creating a repository in the debian group, you grant access to all developers. That way people performing NMUs can directly commit their changes. It will also make it easier if you later orphan the package to preserve version control history, URIs and merge request history. Notes and Limitations --------------------- The debian group is great for relatively unrelated packages. It may not be appropriate for a large number of related packages (especially when maintained by a team) for these reasons: * It is hard to examine the group of related packages without also seeing other unrelated packages * You cannot subscribe to watch a group of related packages with one click * Access to people who are not Debian Developers needs to be granted on a per-repository basis in the debian group Some teams with a large number of packages have adopted a monolithic format where a single repository contains information for many packages. It is not the intent of this recommendation to judge that approach either positively or negatively; this recommendation is targeted at a very different audience. This recommendation is not appropriate in cases when Debian Developers should not have push access to the repository. For example if you are mirroring the repository from another service and do not want changes pushed to this replica, using the debian group is inappropriate. Two-way mirroring is desired when possible. Packages not on Salsa ===================== Some people choose not to host their packages on Salsa for a variety of reasons. Examples include wanting to host Debian packaging in the same repository as upstream development when the Debian and upstream maintainers are related. Even if you do not host your packaging work on Salsa you should: * Host your packaging work in Git assuming that the upstream does not use some other version control system. There is no recommendation when upstream uses different version control. There are advantages to using Git as well as advantages to using what the upstream chooses. * Use a public repository where in-progress and ongoing work are available to the public. Do not just push when you release. * Set the vcs-git and vcs-browser fields in debian/control to point to your repository. * Document the maintainer branch format you use. You are encouraged to mirror your repository to Salsa so that people can find more of the Debian packaging in one place. Non-Free Services ----------------- It is important to many members of our community that they be able to do work within Debian without using non-free software or web services that depend on non-free software. Github is a common example of a web service that uses non-free software. Clearly community members can use the BTS, make NMUs and interact with mailing lists. However, not being able to interact with packaging Git repos can significantly reduce developer's effectiveness. Evaluate the impact on our community before using a non-free service like Github for Debian packaging. Would your needs be met by mirroring from free services to non-free services? Using non-free services for Debian packaging is not recommended but is permitted. Some have suggested that we forbid the use of non-free services for Debian packaging. First, we'd rather public git repositories be available than for example have people claim they are not using VCS at all. Secondly, we don't even have a mechanism to codify such a policy, nor is it clear that it would be desirable to have formal policy for what tools people use prior to upload. If the use of a non-free service is preventing an active member of our community from contributing to a team, the team should work to find a solution so that member can contribute effectively. Recommendation for Teams ======================== This section provides recommendations for teams to consider when setting up their packaging practices. The debian group on Salsa may not be the best choice for teams maintaining a large number of packages. The team packages will be mixed together with other packages and that may be confusing. Often, a team will want their own group to segregate their packages. In this case the team should create a team group on Salsa and store their packages there. This will make looking at changes to these packages, merge requests for the set of packages, and CI information easier. It is not possible to grant the debian group access to all packages in a group at once. However, if a team wishes, they may grant push access to the debian group on a package-by-package basis. Best practice is for multiple people to have owner privileges on the team. If the team owner leaves Debian, having a second team owner will make managing the team easier. Similarly if an account is locked for security reasons, having a second owner will make the transition smoother. Account Transitions =================== [This text is something we had consensus on back in November. However, in April 2019, the Salsa maintainers and nm.debian.org maintainers have begun making changes that addresses several of the concerns discussed in this section. ] This isn't so much a case where we have a recommendation as where it seems like we need to do more work. There are some awkward issues around Salsa accounts: * When you retire from Debian or are removed, your salsa account becomes inaccessible. That means you no longer have access to teams and repos that you are granted access to. * Granting access to repositories in personal namespace becomes problematic. You will typically no longer be able to push to repositories in your personal namespace. * If you are the only active team owner for a team, gaining access to the team will require administrator action and will be relatively slow. * You will need to regain access to any repositories that you should have access to. Depending on why an account is locked, the above may be strongly desired or deeply frustrating. There's been enough discussion of this issue that it seems like someone should take on the task of trying to figure out what we as a project want. Solutions might include: * Procedures that get followed when accounts are closed. We probably don't want more effort added to the tasks of NM front desk, MIA or DAM. But if additional volunteers stepped forward who wanted to help with these transitions, it might make sense to approach things that way. * Changing how Salsa and Debian LDAP interact. This would involve figuring out what we want and working with the Salsa admins and DSA. How You can Help ================ There are a number of tasks where we need help to make these recommendations more useful. Help would be appreciated in the following areas: * Exploring what current social conventions are around pushing to other people's repositories in the debian group on salsa and documenting them. This is more about documenting what people do than about documenting what permissions people have. * We've talked a number of times about how it would be great to do a better job of documenting what branch format (patches unapplied, patches applied, dpm, packaging only, etc) a repository uses. It would be great if someone would work on figuring out how to document that. It would be even better if someone would work with tool authors like the authors of git-buildpackage, dgit, debcherry, etc and see if there are ways these tools could automatically maintain this information. This is an area where cross-tool coordination could make all our lives easier. * The area I expected to be hardest to address seems to be well under way to getting solved. The Salsa maintainers and maintainers of nm.debian.org are working on the account transition issues and may have a solution in place very soon. * Finding volunteers to propose patches to developers-reference and other sources. * We had a discussion of using native packages . My conclusion from that is that there are a lot of issues to consider when choosing to use a native format but that sometimes it is a reasonable choice. It would be really helpful to get all the issues people brought up in that discussion onto a wiki page into a non-judgmental way. I think using native formats will always be somewhat advanced, but I know I'd benefit from the wiki page. If you do work on summarizing that discussion, note that Guillem Jover brought up additional issues months later. Many of the issues he discussed overlap with issues already considered, but they should be included as well.
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