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Re: Attempted summary and thoughts

Don Armstrong <don@debian.org> writes:
> On Wed, 28 Mar 2007, Charles Plessy wrote:

>> The maintainer is not MIA, but does not actively develop anymore.

> Packages like this should have a message to the current maintainer with
> a proposal to co-maintain or orphan+adopt followed by an ITH (intent to
> hijack) if there is no response within a reasonable period of time.[1]

> If no one is interested in stepping forward to do this and deal with the
> package, then the status quo is the best that can be done. While it is
> suboptimal, it's the best we can do until someone wants to take over.

So, here's a possibly weird proposal.

What if we had some mechanism whereby people could indicate interest in
maintaining a package should anything happen to the current maintainer?
Have it be as non-confrontational as possible by having it not indicate
any feeling about whether the package is currently maintained well, just a
willingness to help should the current maintainer be unable to continue
for some reason.

Then, should the package run into any trouble, we'd know whether anyone
else is actually already in a position to potentially take it over, or
whether there really isn't anyone who feels like they could do so.

Problems that I see with this right away are:

 * The data could easily get stale.  I may be willing to help with a
   package right now, but a year from now when it has problems, I may no
   longer be in that position.  I'm not sure if some sort of periodic ping
   of "you said you'd be willing to take on all of these; reply if that's
   not still true" would cut it.

 * My guess is that if we put this system in place, we'll immediately
   discover that most of our core packages have no backup ready and
   available.  But that may be useful information anyway.

For example, I (and probably various other people) would register my
willingness to take over autoconf should Ben ever no longer be in a
position to maintain it.  That doesn't mean that he's doing a bad job
(he's doing a *great* job so far as I can tell); it's just a note that
should anything catastrophic happen to him, people don't have to scramble
to look for a replacement maintainer for that package.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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