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Re: Dropping testing (was: Re: Bits (Nybbles?) from the Vancouver release team meeting)

On Wed, Mar 16, 2005 at 07:51:16PM +0100, David Schmitt wrote:
> On Wednesday 16 March 2005 18:12, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> > I already sent two mails [1,2] where I expressed my opinion that dumping
> > testing might be an option since it's the main reason for the underlying
> > problems that seem to cause the proposed removal of two third of the
> > Debian architectures from the Debian releases while it hasn't proven to
> > bring any real benefits for the release.
> >
> > The interesting thing is that while people answered to other parts of
> > these emails, noone said anything about my points regarding testing -
> > neither in favor nor against them.
> You fail to list and address the points testing claims to address.
> Therefore I judge this part of your otherwise quite sensible mail ranting I 
> don't have to argue for or against because it has no real content except 
> expressing your personal animosities.
> Ouch. Seems like I fell into the communication trap myself. Here is a weak try 
> at refuting your proposal:
> To archive a stable release, arches have to be in sync, there should be only a 
> single version of every library and packages have to be installable. This 
> seem to be the problems I believe testing was designed to solve. Incidentally 
> this almost the list of "problems" you identify being the cause of testings 
> problems. Kinda matches. Going back to a frozen-only release cycle would 
> ignore these problems until half a year before the release. Then the same 
> work that is now done for testing would have to be done anyways: arches 
> brought to sync, libraries transitioned and package installability 
> guaranteed.

I agree with you that testing helps with some problems like getting 
packages in sync and installable.

But currently testing needs regular manual help by the five members of 
the release team to keep on running.
Exactly the same amount of work they are currently doing [1] might bring 
the same effect without testing since this information (and much more) 
is also available without testing.

"libraries transitioned" is a big point against testing:

Transitions of API-compatible libraries are a pain _only_ due to 
testing. In unstable, such a transition can easily be done within a few 

But the transition to testing requires that all affected packages (which 
might be 100 source packages for some transitions) are ready _at the 
same time_, more exactly:
- each package mustn't have more more RC bugs than the testing scripts
  estimate for the version in testing
- each package must be built on every single architecture
- the dependencies of every single affected package must be met after
  the transition - this way, often several transition generate a 
  mega-transition of packages that have to go into testing at the same 

Even if all this was fulfilled, a manual hint is still required.

And for bigger transitions, there are always manual adjustments required 
since these requirements aren't fulfillable in practice.

Check how many of the announcements of your release team mention as an 
important point that this transition was finally finished or that 
transition is the next important milestone.

And without testing, all these transition problems wouldn't exist.

> Thus I make two observations:
> 1) Only dropping testing would increase the risk (by delaying the detection of 
> the problems) without noticeable reductions in amount of work (if Debian 
> still aims at a 12-18 month release cycle)

As I tried to explain above, the same information is already available 
elsewhere and the same amount of work currently spent into testing might 
as well suffice to treat them equally.

> 2) Providing a better alternative is more efficiently done by those 
> dissatisfied with the status-quo (i.e. you) as opposed to those who worked 
> hard to establish the status-quo as solution to their problems (i.e. 
> ftp-master and release team).

Was this meant ironically?

In case it was:
If you work in a field, it often happens (and it's unfortunately quite
normal) that you get a narrow view.

> Thank you for still caring about Debian!
> Regards, David


[1] as already said:
    I do not deny that the release team does much work


       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed

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