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Re: looking for nco maintainer Brain Mays

Rorik Peterson <ffrap1@aurora.uaf.edu> wrote:

> I am one of the upstream developers of the nco package.  We have
> been unable to contact via email the maintainer Brian Mays after
> several attempts beginning 2003/03/03, although db.debian.org reports
> activity as recent 2003/08/13.  We would greatly like to update
> the unstable source since many improvements (in my mind) have been
> made since the last upload in October, 2002.  If Brian is MIA, or
> no longer interested in maintaining the nco package, I'd personally
> be interested in adopting it if no one else is (although I'm not
> currently a debian maintainer).

I am not quite MIA, but I do have quite a few things going on in my life
since this spring.  Finishing a PhD, moving, and starting a new job take
up quite a bit of one's time, and while I typically can make minor
improvements to packages without much difficulty, I haven't been able to
spare the time -- which most likely would require a couple of days -- to
update the NCO packages.

Right now, I have several other Debian packages that need changes, I
need to write at least two papers for publication in the Journal of
Computational Physics, and I am settling down into my new job.  Since
only one of these activities results in my rent being paid, it receives
the highest priority.  The others will be done when I have time.

The main problem in the past year or so is that the upstream maintainers
totally changed the way in which the upstream code is distributed (i.e.,
they moved away from the usual ftp site where I was downloading the
source) without telling anyone.  Therefore, I was unaware that ongoing
development was occurring upstream until I receive an email out of the
blue in March.  (Sorry, but I don't have the time to scan Google
periodically for NCO to find where the source code has gone.)  Note that
even the NCO sourceforge website lists the location of the upstream
sources incorrectly.

Thus, I receive an email informing me of all sorts of upstream
development and pointing out that the Debian package is out of date.
That in itself would not be a problem, but the message also included a
fairly detailed list of changes in the way the code is built, including
a special "debian" directory provided in the upstream source.  This
immediately signaled to me that significant work (more than a day) will
be required to incorporate these changes into the current Debian
package.  These "improvements" will need to be carefully read, digested,
understood, and modified to produce a quality result.  Too many times, I
have seen well-meaning, but not entirely competent, developers take a
stab at doing their own version of a Debian package, and the results
often require extensive effort to work around their code so that one can
produce a real, quality package.  I'm sorry, but the job used upstream
to "debianize" NCO just looks sloppy to me, and they would have received
a faster response from me if they had left well enough alone.

Thus, the situation is as follows.  If someone can point me to an new
upstream source that is fairly similar to the source in the current
Debian package, then I can incorporate these changes into Debian in a
very short time.  If, however, the upstream source contains "significant
improvements" to the way the software is built (i.e., it has extensive
changes), then don't expect anything from me before the middle of


- Brian

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