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Re: Attempted summary and thoughts

On Tue, Mar 27, 2007 at 06:43:03PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> 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.
I think I recall making a similar suggestion at somepoint. It was a
'list of people interested in this package'. People would add their name
to a page associated with the package and if $SOMETHING happened, then
the current maintainer could have a list of folks who could take over.
But with your idea, I'd also see it as a place where the current
maintainer could ask for help. Pehaps, based upon some condition, like
too many NMU's, or unreply-to-bugs, this list could be used to change
the status of the package-maintainer pair from active to inactive and
then the people on this list could be automatically queried via email
script for possible co-maintainership or take-over if the mainaitner
does not respond to the co-maint/help request or seems to be mia.
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