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Re: qmail and related packages in NEW

On Fri, 28 Nov 2008 18:12:42 +0000
Gerrit Pape <pape@smarden.org> wrote:

> Hi, I'm quite surprised how the inclusion of qmail and related
> packages into sid is handled, or rather not handled, by the
> ftpmasters.

Just because a package is free software does not mean it automatically
qualifies for inclusion in Debian. Debian is not a dumping ground for
every piece of free software that can be dragged off long-dead

> Lacking any response, I can only guess what the reason for the delay
> is.

IMHO, the response has been given and your replies have not provided
sufficient grounds to change the response. Personally, I think that is
entirely fair.

> >From my point of view this reason is questionable, and I stated so
> >in my
> response to the reject mail.  Receiving no response within eight weeks
> tells me that discussing doesn't work.

Discussions only work when new information is available. Rehashing the
same points in the hope that repetition wins the day is just boring.
> On Mon, Sep 01, 2008 at 10:36:07PM +0000, Gerrit Pape wrote:
> > On Sun, Jul 06, 2008 at 02:19:30PM +0000, Joerg Jaspert wrote:
> > > Aside from these technical - and possibly fixable - problems, we
> > > (as in the ftpteam) have discussed the issue, and we are all of
> > > the opinion that qmail should die, and not receive support from
> > > Debian. As such we *STRONGLY* ask you to reconsider uploading
> > > those packages.
> > >
> > > Qmail is dead upstream and requires a whole set of patches to even
> > > begin to work in the manner expected of a modern MTA.  Given
> > > this, the fact that this means there is also no upstream security
> > > support, and the fact that Debian already contains at least three
> > > reasonable MTAs, we see no need to add qmail to the archive. So -
> > > please reconsider if it really helps Debian to have those
> > > packages. Also feel free to start a public discussion on
> > > debian-devel@lists.debian.org about the issue, including any
> > > relevant information from this email, in order to gather opinions
> > > from other project members.

To me, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable and calm response to
your original question.

Packages that are dead upstream are always going to be a headache for
the security team and the release team. Bit rot is a constant source of
new bugs as all the packages around the dead one(s) continue to be
developed and improved.

> > We all know, I guess, that there's lots of different opinions on the
> > quality and usability of qmail.  There're people thinking like you,
> > and other people, including me, that have a different opinion.  I
> > respect your opinion, please respect ours too.  You're free to not
> > install/use the packages.  I've been contacted by several people
> > since I announced my intention to package qmail, speaking in favor
> > of the inclusion into Debian.

It isn't just about choosing not to install it, it causes work for the
various teams in Debian - security, release, QA. 

There are always different opinions. What matters is whether there is
any new information to bring to the discussion.

> > I think your advise to start a discussion to gather support for the
> > packages is backwards.  Debian is about free software and users, the
> > qmail packages are free software, and users request the inclusion
> > into Debian. 

Insufficient. Debian is about quality, not merely quantity.

> > If you are interested in not having qmail in Debian,
> > you are free to start a public discussion to find supporters for
> > your position, I guess you'll get some objections too.

IMHO qmail should continue to be rejected for the reasons explained by
the original rejection response.

(This package is dead, it's joined the bit bucket invisible, it's been
left unwanted and unmaintained by the upstream. Having a debian
maintainer is insufficient - what qmail needs is a new upstream team.)

> I've no idea where yet another thread on this list should take us.

Hopefully, it will convince you that qmail has no place in Debian
until someone thinks it is worth breathing some life into the upstream

> To me the situation is clear.  There's a user base for these
> packages, and a Debian developer ready to maintain them.


> In my opinion, ftpmasters should reject packages on grounds of Debian
> policy or (maybe) the Debian body.  If they wish a permanent
> rejection of qmail and related packages, they should try to find that
> consensus within Debian, and, if successful, add that decision to
>  http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/unable-to-package
> Can you advise me on how to get out of that dilemma?

Stop trying to get qmail into Debian?
Take on upstream development of qmail and solve all the problems
(whether qmail will then be recognisable compared to the existing
packages that do the same job, I have no idea).


Neil Williams

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