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Not every package should enter Debian (was: Re: Who cares about NEW when there are bigger issues? (was Re: Is NEW processing on hold? (was: Question for candidate Towns)))

On Tuesday 08 March 2005 15.55, Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña wrote:
> > Further: do not accept every package to enter Debian...
> Should be done, but if ftp-maintainers take this decissions they get
> bashed on the basis of them preventing "freedom". And we're back again to
> the pointless hot-babe discussion which drills to "should Debian be a
> software repository of every free software project written on earth,
> regardless of its state and value?"

Risking another hot-babesque thread...

 -> not every package should enter Debian

I agree - but the question is, obviouusly the demarcation line.

 -> ftp-masters get bashed over the head if they refuse to let packages in.

And rightly so.

IMHO, Debian has a serious double-problem here and needs to attack it.  
ftp-masters should, as I understand the role, be a purely administrative 
function: keep the archive running.  No policy decisions should be made by 

In that light, fully automatic NEW processing will not hurt at all (I agree 
that a delay of a few days is sensible to give us time to react to the 
worst problem cases.)

So how does Debian ensure that things like hot-babe (or whatever - assuming 
here that the Debian project could actually officially decide that it 
should not be packaged) don't end up in Debian?  Hey, that's why we've got 
unstable.  Packages don't get any magic fairy dust just by reaching 
unstable (especially not new packages - the risk for random breakage is 
rather small imho) - so, a package is not worthy to be packaged? Easy, 
remove it again from unstable.

Ok, that's the easy technical bit that gets rid of manual NEW processing 
alltogether.  Now, the second question:  How do we tell what should be 
included in Debian and what not?

There is no obvious answer.  So the project has to decide on some arbitrary 
standards - but I think it has been proven that decisions on a case by case 
basis does not work - the pr0n debate comes up regularly, and as soon as 
that's started somebody drags religion and politics into it and we have a 
300-mails thread.

Wanted: a policy document that draws the lines (there will always be grey 
areas, yes.  But they can be made smaller than they are right now), with 
processes that ensure that handling critical cases does not take 2 months 
or more.

So, obviously - wanted: a way to come up with such a policy document.  And 
here is where I'm at a loss - discussing this on a public mailing list is 
likely not to go anywhere: this is a debate where there is not a 'right' or 
'wrong', but where the Debian project needs to adopt an opinion and stick 
with it - like now, the Debian project has an official opinion about Free 
Software (or OSS, whatever - please don't start that debate here ;-)

Ok, now I've rambled so long and probably haven't contributed to a solution 
for this nasty problem.  Bad.  Move along, nothing to see here...

-- vbi

Don't let your status become too quo!

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