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Re: Bits from the RM

On Tue, 2003-12-02 at 18:09, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 02, 2003 at 05:32:59PM +1100, Zenaan Harkness wrote:
> ] $ grep Harkness /var/lib/apt/lists/*_*; echo $?
> ] 1

It's not much (directly) Debian related (yet), but:
I'd be in NM but for the keyservers and NM registration page being down.
I have packaged fastdep, and it is being reviewed, and has been through
a few rounds of suggestions and repackaging:


> > Can "requesting removal from archive" be automated, to occur say after 3
> > weeks of inactivity of rc/grave/serious bug?
> It could, but it shouldn't be -- requests for removal should happen after
> the analysis of whether it should be removed and what effect that'll
> have has been done, not before.


> > I feel it might be the best whip there is - to start dropping packages.
> > Whip the users - turn them into developers I say!
> Nice idea, but it's not really possible; our n-m process just isn't
> efficient enough for that to happen.

OK. I was thinking more of - if they are told their favourite package is
about to get removed (it's a stick for the users of the package, not
only the developer), then the user might be motivated to at least send
an email to someone, and slowly get educated - if nothing else, about
sending emails. That is a useful part of the process. My intention is
"how can this be emphasized".

> > And this is what? an observation and nothing more. It might be useful
> > for some, I don't know. (Me personally - "you naughty DD, not fixing
> > your RC because you disagree with policy - shame, shame!" - just doesn't
> > do anything for me. I need a whip :)
> Fundamentally, as a package maintainer you need to be responsible to
> yourself.  It's not anyone else's job to come along and make sure you're
> doing the right thing, it's yours. If you can't do that, or don't want
> to, you should give the package to someone else, and contribute as a
> co-maintainer or by filing patches.

Except it appears the current process of expecting the developer to
realise at what point this has occured by themself, is not efficient
enough given current size of debian + desired release schedules +
current process for [notifying|whipping] developers.

> > Allow people to demonstrate that they are lazy, and they will. 
> How about we let people demonstrate that they're responsible, and capable
> of being left alone?

Definitely. I'm sorry if my comments were not smileyed enough. I
understand that I was presenting an extreme viewpoint. It was more for
the point of getting the viewpoint down (and I was hoping in a
lighthearted way).

> > Can't speak to the random crackpot thing :), but I feel we need to start
> > kicking some serious DD butt.
> In the end, that's not something we do. Everyone here's a volunteer, and
> that means we get to appreciate what they provide, and accept the limits
> of their contribution. We don't get to kick their butt, we don't get to
> whip them into shape, we don't get to beat them until morale improves.


Point taken (I found your paragraph above pretty humorous, in a good

> Certainly, there might come a point where we need to say "look, someone
> else can do a better job than you're doing, please get out of their
> way and let them", but most of the time that's not actually the case,

I would be the first to give a developer who desires to continue working
on their package and being a maintainer, etc, every possible opportunity
and support to do so (eg. deferring RC-driven package removals, etc).

Thanks for clarifying this point though - I agree it is central to The
Debian Way. We are all volunteers and that is understood. I'm just
guessing there might be some additional email notifications or whatever,
that can raise the awareness a little, in alignment with what you first

> no matter how it seems, and most of the time you're not just going to
> get the package maintained somewhat better, you're also going to have
> the developer you're replacing quit the project in irritation and disgust.
> Almost all the time, it's far better to ensure that maintainers have
> access to the help they want, and let them decide who's in a position
> to replace them, and who's not.

That shouldn't sound in conflict to what I wrote. I'm in agreement here.

> > > A similar approach is to fix things quickly -- if you get a bug about some
> > > spelling mistakes, or a simple patch to apply, do them straight away.
> > How can this be "encouraged"? How do you change entrenched human
> > habitual behaviour?
> The first step is admitting there's a problem.

Good point.

Thanks for your very measured response. I do apologise if my email came
across too harshly.


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