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Re: Release update: minor delay; no non-RC fixes; upgrade reports

On Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 02:58:21AM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 01, 2005 at 12:27:08AM +0200, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> > Why are there always extremely aggressive timelines (with at least three 
> > publically announced release dates for sarge already passed) instead of 
> > making everything more relaxed for being able to improve sarge without 
> > being in a big hurry?
> I think you're the only person on the planet arguing that sarge's release
> cycle should be slower...

That's not what I am saying.

The things I'm talking about are on an order of magnitude below the big 
delays of the sarge release cycle.

We are talking about perhaps one or two months.

The first announced release date for sarge is now missed by 18 months 
because the development of the new installer didn't progress as 
expected. If Debian 3.1 would have been released in 2003 with 
slightly updated boot-floppies, etch might be frozen now.

You can't correct a delay of one and a half years by squeezing a few 
weeks off the freeze time.

> There is always room for improvement, but you have to decide which axis you
> want to improve on.  Do you want a release, or do you want a perpetual
> freeze that asymptotically approaches perfection because there's always one
> more RC bug to be closed in one little package that has a userbase of a
> dozen or less?  This is the tradeoff of hunting down all the RC bugs that
> have been reported in the BTS.  It's a diminishing-returns tradeoff, and I
> don't think the decision we're making is the wrong one.

IMHO there's currently too much hurry in the release timelines.

Yes, you can't be 100% perfect.
But one big well-known strength of Debian is stability, and that's IMHO 
worth some effort and time.

> > Yes, woody is completely outdated. But a few weeks more or less until 
> > sarge is released doesn't make the big difference.
> Well, I'm sorry, but whereas it may not make a big difference to most of our
> users or developers whether the release is delayed by a few weeks, as the
> one in the hot seat, a prolonged freeze does have a significant impact on
> *my* quality of life.  Keeping up on the status of RC issues, coordinating
> with maintainers, coordinating bugfixers, submitting packages, doing NMUs,
> reviewing and/or handholding packages containing fixes that need to get into
> the release, watching one autobuilder after another off-line itself due to
> hardware issues and trying to manage the resulting increase in pending
> issues, getting the timing right so that all the teams involved in a release
> can be available to do their part at the right time in the right order,
> making sure that none of the last-minute problems (there are *always*
> last-minute problems) derail that timing...

A freeze with a less aggressive timeline might take longer, but OTOH it 
might make the quality of your life during the freeze better because 
there's less stress.

If you have some spare time after the release of sarge, I'd recommend 
reading e.g. the book "Slack" by Tom DeMarco.

> I challenge anyone to do volunteer release management for a project with
> Debian's size and complexity and come away with the opinion that longer
> freezes are a good thing.

If this is a personal invitation for me to join the Debian release team 
I might consider accepting.

> > And if 6 June 2005 will be the fourth missed officially announced 
> > release date for sarge the negative effect on the reputation of Debian 
> > will most likely be bigger compared to the situation if you'd have 
> > planned and announced a longer freeze.
> Anyone who can't distinguish between an "officially announced release date"
> and a projected target release date isn't worth wasting my breath on.

It seems you underestimate the public effects of release management 

Nearly none of your users read d-d-a.

They read the media.

E.g. in Germany the most popular online media for computer related news 
is heise.de [1]. And their latest news regarding Debian was "Completion 
of Debian sarge delayed again" [2].

You might blame the media, but this doesn't help. People who don't know 
what Debian is will only read this headline and might remember it when 
considering using Debian. And some users of Debian will finally give up 
on waiting for sarge since all they hear is that it's delayed again.

> Steve Langasek


[1] http://www.heise.de
[2] http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/60089


       "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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