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Re: For those who care about their packages in Ubuntu

On Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 07:13:31AM +1100, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 09:20:33AM -0800, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > On Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 07:08:38PM +1100, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> > > I keep hearing this, but I really don't believe it.  In Debian, "Maintainer"
> > > means "An individual or group of people primarily responsible for the
> > > on-going well being of a package".  As I understand it, in Ubuntu, the MOTUs
> > > have responsibility for all of the packages in Universe.
> > 
> > In practice, it doesn't work out to mean the same thing, however.  Most of
> > the packages in universe are maintained only by the Debian maintainer, and
> > propagated unmodified into Ubuntu.  It is only when there is a specific
> > motive to change the package in Ubuntu that anyone on that team will touch
> > it.
> But if a problem in a package in Ubuntu universe does appear, whose
> responsibility[1][2] is it to fix it?  Whatever the answer to that question,
> also answers the question "what should go in the Maintainer: field?".

And unsurprisingly, it, too, doesn't have a straightforward answer.  If a
user reports such a bug to Ubuntu, it is approximately the domain of the
MOTU team, in that they triage those bugs (on a time-available prioritized
basis, across the entire set of packages).  However, this is not the same
thing as saying "the maintainer of this package is the MOTU team",
especially not in the same sense as "mpalmer@debian.org is the maintainer of

> > By way of example, the Debian maintainer is equipped to answer questions
> > like "why is the package set up this way?", "what are your plans for it?",
> > etc., while the MOTU team are not.
> What the?  By that logic, the upstream author should be in the Maint: field,
> since they're in the *best* position to answer those questions for the
> majority content of the package.  At any rate, in most cases the answer,
> from the Debian maintainer, to the first question would either be "Dunno,
> can't remember" or "the previous maintainer was a known crack addict", while
> the answer to the second would be "<shrug> make sure it doesn't break, I
> suppose" -- none of whick are particularly more interesting answers than
> what you'd get from the MOTUs.

If I were to accept your declaration that the Debian maintainer is equally
ill-equipped to discuss the package, then it follows that they are an
equally valid value for the Maintainer field.

There really isn't any point in arguing our individual views, though.  What
I'm interested in is what will satisfy a majority of Debian developers, and
the proposed poll seems like the closest we'll get to that.

 - mdz

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