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buildd stuff (was: Re: update on binary upload restrictions)

On Thu, Jan 25, 2007 at 01:23:35AM +0000, James Troup wrote:
> unilaterally make the decision that they are or are not OK.  If it's
> the consensus of the release managers and the architecture porting
> team that they want to use emulated buildds and/or cross compiling, I
> absolutely will not stop them from doing so.

There's something slightly related here which, I think, needs
discussion, too:

Is it really optimal to have one buildd admin per architecture, and
several architectures per buildd admin?

I know your opinion on this matter is different from mine; but it has
been nagging on me for a while, and I must get it off me. Note, though,
that this is not meant as an attack; I want a sensible discussion about
the topic, since I believe it's important.

I do not believe it to be optimal that people who maintain buildd boxen
for a given architecture are not in touch with the people who claim
themselves to be the porters for the same architecture. I know for a
fact that you're either not subscribed to the debian-arm mailinglist
(since I am, and have never seen any post from you there); and If people
like Wookey, who I consider to be one of the prime arm porters, say
things like[1]

   The buildd people do usually reschedule things when asked, I believe,
   but there is (almost) never any direct feedback so it's hard to know
   if people who ask questions here are getting the help they need.

then I feel that there is something wrong. Building packages is done for
a port; I think the porters -- those who actually care about the port --
should be the first to know and be informed about stuff going on; the
best way to do that is by involving them in the actual building process
more than is now done for almost every port, except m68k.

I have now been somewhat maintaining the unofficial armeb port by
myself[2], partially also in order to be able to compare the differences
between, on the one hand, maintaining a few buildd hosts as part of a
larger team for one architecture, and maintaining a few buildd hosts as
the only person doing so for a given port on the other. In my opinion,
the differences are not as huge as they are often claimed to be: staying
on top of failures is required in both cases, whether you're the only
one or part of a team. Obviously it takes more coordination and
communication to do it that way, but that doesn't mean it's impossible,
as the m68k port has proven for quite a while now (the recent issues had
little to do with lack of proper buildd maintenance, but with other

On the other hand, people often say on IRC that they find the m68k
buildd team to be the most responsive of all; I do not believe this to
be a coincidence.

Don't you agree it would be wise to bring this topic up with porters of
a given architecture, and let them choose whether they want to remain
with the status quo or would rather prefer taking over buildd
maintenance by themselves? I have the feeling (though I obviously can't
be sure) that some porters and ports would actually prefer going ahead
with maintaining buildd hosts by themselves.

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-arm/2006/09/msg00011.html
[2] although it's not doing much currently, since
    ftp-master.debonaras.org has been down for a while, and I guess aba
    (who set it up and has root there, unlike me) has more urgent
    matters on his hands right now than spending a few hours figuring
    out what's going on with a rather important host for an architecture
    that isn't going to release with etch anyway.

<Lo-lan-do> Home is where you have to wash the dishes.
  -- #debian-devel, Freenode, 2004-09-22

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