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Re: Should we improve our (internal) communication?

Hi Philipp,

On Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 00:41, Philipp Kern<trash@philkern.de> wrote:
> Hi,
> On 2009-07-16, Sandro Tosi <morph@debian.org> wrote:
>> today ries (aka ftp-master) was down due to a scheduled maintenance activity.
> more or less scheduled, as already stated.
>> Now, scheduled means programmed, and suddenly this question comes to
>> me: should the project be notified of such core activities? should we
>> only relay on #debian-devel irc channel topic to know this?
> Interestingly that is even mirrored to a public location[1], especially as

I know, but I don't see irc as the best medium to notify of such activities.

> downtimes at short notice have in the past been put there.  While I agree
> that they could have mailed d-i-a I, for myself, don't deem that necessary
> for such a short outage.

ehm, it was not "so short" :) it lasted some hours.

Moreover, there were several other occasions in the past where a
"formal" communication was not sent: for example, Fort Collins network
issues some months ago.

> DSA regularly update ries with new kernels and notice ries interactive
> users sufficiently ahead, so I have nothing to complain in this regard.
> (It's mostly on IRC, true, but for the current userbase that seems to be
> sufficient because we're there when/while working.)

I'm not saying DSA doesn't coordinate with key users before performing
any action, just that an email to the project like "oh hi, we
brought/will bring down <machine> @ HH:MM, we estimate X hours of
downtime but as Murphy sits on the next desk, it may take longer"
would also be appropriate.

I don't think IRC is the right place for such communication, at least
not the only one.

>> ries is not a barely used machine, it's the one of our fundamental
>> servers, and it went down without notification (to my knowledge, or at
>> least to a wide audience).
> I tend to differ.  Of course it's heavly used interactively by both
> FTP and release team, but well, leaning back for half an hour also
> does some good, right?
> There are (to my knowledge) three services served from that machine that
> the public could access: 1) incoming, 2) the upload queue, 3) release
> stuff like britney output.  The upload queue was pointed somewhere else,
> incoming might be critical for buildds but in general they cope if it
> isn't reachable and the latter is partially put onto packages.qa.d.o.
>> Other times, when I asked on irc why a given machine when down I often
>> have received a reply that sounded like "WTF you want? go and do
>> something else and don't bother us", not really encouraging, but I
>> moved along.
> I suppose you did get an indication why it was down, right?  Maintenance
> activity.  So nothing is wrong per se, which is a good sign.  People
> are taking care of it.

The only indication I have is inferred from the fact that the #-devel
topic was changed by a DSA member using 'scheduled' to categorize the
down. I think a clear statement of what's going on it's far better.

>> Should we improve how we communicate in the project? Shouldn't there
>> be more information on what's moving "behind the scenes"? It's just me
>> that would like to know it?
> I find weasel's reports on what DSA did very interesting in the past.
> Granted, they were internal notes put out into the public, but it
> gives you some impression of "behind the scenes".

and we must thank him for that report. Sadly I saw it just one time
(plus the discussion that arose from it), but a continuous update for
situation like ries is also valuable.

Sandro Tosi (aka morph, morpheus, matrixhasu)
My website: http://matrixhasu.altervista.org/
Me at Debian: http://wiki.debian.org/SandroTosi

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