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Re: Is Sid for broken stuff? Is it too much to ask for testing the packages?

On Thu, Dec 12, 2002 at 02:53:15AM +0100, Marek Habersack wrote:

> > you think "this is unstable" comments help, it's not fair for you to be
> > mad at maintainers who HAVE done what they can to test packages before
> Do you think mozilla-snapshot was installed by the maintainer before he
> uploaded it? Or do you think that the postgres maintainer checked whether
> upgrade from the 7.2 format to the 7.3 format works? If he installed the
> package, he would have tested that functionality since I suppose he had 7.2
> data on his disk before. I named postgresql as the example, because that
> happened to be what triggerred my mail, that's it - no other reason. And,
> again, I'm not mad about lost data (although I lost some data, not important
> though) - I'm mad about recklessness and laziness of some maintainers.

I won't defend any developer who did not install the package before
uploading it.  If it's clear that a maintainer script contains an error
so serious that the package *would not install for anyone*, that's
unexcusable.  It's different, though, when there's a bug that only
affects *some* types of installation (upgrade vs. fresh install, upgrade
from a particular version, conflicts with other packages).  It can be
quite time consuming to test all possible combinations, and often is not
worth the effort.

In reading the bug report you linked to, I understand that Oliver is
claiming that he did install the package to test it.  I haven't looked
at the maintainer script, so I was taking him at his word.  If you are
saying that he could not have installed the package because of the bug,
that's another issue.

As for upgrading from 7.2 to 7.3, I agree that's important, and I would
hope all maintainers are aware of upstream changes like this, but I can
also see how it's possible that just installing the package wouldn't
catch the bug.

> Take for example this thing:

> trap "mail -s "$MAILSUBJECT" root@localhost < ${MAILFILE}; rm -f $MAILFILE"

> Do you honestly think that the maintainer installed script with that code
> and that the code worked for him? 

I don't think that code worked for him.  But without context, I don't
know that this line isn't optional.  If I put that line inside of an
"if false" block, it appears to work fine for me.

I've just downloaded the source package, and am looking at the line in
question, which is bounded by:

    # If the conffile has been _deleted_, restore it from the dpkg-dist
    # version (deletion goes beyond valid user editing!)
    if [ ! -f $f ]
        # postgresql.env has been deleted; we must have it, but since
        # it is a conffile, we must ask



The comments make it clear to me that, at least in this case, simply
installing the package would not catch the bug.  Do I think this code
should have been tested before being added to the maintainer script?
Sure.  That doesn't mean I haven't also been guilty before of
*believing* that a piece of code would work when it wouldn't.  And you
know, the changelog suggests that this line has been there since March
2002 -- so it must not have affected too many people!

Maintaining a large server package like postgresql isn't easy, and I
don't think we have enough developers who are willing to work on this
kind of package.  I don't want the developers we *do* have working on
large packages to feel unappreciated and abandon them.

For packages that were never installed before upload, you're quite
right, and those developers deserve whatever flames they get. :)  I just
don't think that the postgres maintainer is currently one of them.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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