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Re: Thoughts on Debian quality, including automated testing

First, thanks to Lars for drawing our attention to an important topic
and for taking an initiative that is long overdue.

Lars, I agree fully with what you say.  When it comes to team
maintenance I would go even further than you do.  You say:

>     Mandatory teams for packages seems ridiculous to me. 
>     Lots of packages are so small that having to arrange a 
>     team for them, even if it is only the effort to set up 
>     and subscribe to a team mailing list, is wasteful. Not 
>     everyone likes to work in a close team, either, and we 
>     shouldn't exclude them.

I don't think that it is ridiculous to require that every package have a
team behind it---i.e., at least two maintainers.  First, if someone can't
find ONE other person willing to be named as a co-maintainer of a given
package then I would seriously doubt that that package (or that person)
is an asset to Debian.  Second, putting packages in the custody of a
team makes it easy for a tired maintainer to relinquish control.  If the
team works via an alioth project then there are many benefits. Code is
kept under version control and thus backed up; the change history can be
easily viewed by anyone; the mailing list becomes an easily browsed
history of package development.  Team maintainership is working very
well for some other distributions.

I would support requiring team maintainership because TM will be
beneficial in almost all cases and making it a requirement it cuts off a
lot of useless discussion.  There are several packages in Debian that are
notoriously undermaintained and whose maintainers have mused from time
to time about getting help, but haven't bothered to do it.  They should
be forced to get help, or to give up maintaining those packages.

Consistent with this view, I have just created teams for all my packages
even though most of them are mature.  I am glad to have the help; having
new people to work with has given me some new ideas.

Combined with the principle of non-responsibility (constitution §2.1),
the institution of exclusive solitary package ownership has made some
Debian packages into bastions of untended bugs.
Thomas Hood

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