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ftpmaster accepts packages that have been rejected a few days ago


since more than a few months, I am maintainer of the linux-atm
package. I have used that package for my work until june, when I
changed jobs. I have put up the package for adoption, but continue to
maintain it until someone else offers to take it. I don't think that I
am doing too bad a job of maintaining linux-atm, but it surely is not
low-maintenance compared to my other packages. However, I have spent
too much time for Debian and this package for the waste-basket because
ftpmaster recently decided to give me the finger.

In early November, people asked me to package br2684ctl, a new program
that has not been officially released by the linux-atm upstream. So I
would have to pull br2684ctl from upstream CVS and include it in my
package that contains released software only. I was very reluctant to
do so, but agreed when people convinced me that br2684ctl is useful
for a lot of people and threaten to package it themselves. I thought
that it would be a bad idea to have two source packages from the same
upstream. But I decided to put br2684ctl into its own .deb to be able
to distinguish between unreleased development software and released
software versions.

After spending too much time with packaging (br2684's addition to the
build toolchain required a lot of learning about autoconf, automake
and libtool), I finally uploaded to experimental. I had to wait almost
three weeks to have the package REJECTED by ftpmaster, incarnated by
James Troup. He was unusually polite, but the mail exchange ended with
him announcing that "Well, sorry, but I'm personally not
prepared to add (overrides for) a package to unstable with nothing but
an 8k binary and a 1k manpage." He consented with having private
e-mail published, which I really appreciate.

This is not the first time that I have had a package rejected for
being "too small", giving myself the impression that my work is not
appreciated by Debian. Maybe I don't add enough bloat to my packages?

Bringing the linux-atm source package into a state that allows
building br2684ctl locally why not automatically building it was
another half day of fighting with automake.

Well, to make things short, the people who asked me to include
br2684ctl with linux-atm have prepared their own package - of course
still only consisting of an 8k binary and a 1k manpage and uploaded to
unstable. This time, the package was promptly ACCEPTed in a matter of

I am currently tempted to stop wasting time for Debian since I
obviously don't have a chance of getting new packages into the archive
since I usually work on small but useful things. I don't know if
ftpmaster has a personal problem with me or doubts my skills and
qualification, but I simply don't appreciate working for the waste
basket. I don't have enough spare time to afford this.

Even if this is not a personal issue of Mr. Troup towards me, having
ftpmaster behave like A today and like B tomorrow is a bad thing. If I
had a chance of knowing beforehand if a package uploaded will be
handled by Mr. Troup or somebody else, there would be a chance of
being handled fairly, but if the ftpmasters obviously don't
communicate with each other, and if there won't be a method of getting
ftpmaster's opionion about a new package before any more time is
wasted, maintainers will continue to be chased away, which is a loss
for Debian.

I would like to ask other maintainers: What would you do if you have
had packages repeatedly rejected while others get the very same
packages (wasting even more archive space because upstream source is
multiplied) accepted without problems? Retire? Stop uploading? Asking
other people to upload for you? Try to be more submissive towards
powerful people on un-electable posts?

Any comments will be appeciated.


-------------------------------------- !! No courtesy copies, please !! -----
Marc Haber          |   " Questions are the         | Mailadresse im Header
Karlsruhe, Germany  |     Beginning of Wisdom "     | Fon: *49 721 966 32 15
Nordisch by Nature  | Lt. Worf, TNG "Rightful Heir" | Fax: *49 721 966 31 29

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