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Re: Taking care of existing packages

Hi, Gregor and everybody else.

On Aug 20 2009, gregor herrmann wrote:
> [Any reason why this thread happens on both -devel and -mentors?]

I am not subscribed to -devel (only to -mentors; I asked to be CC'ed on
the original message).

The reason why I posted to both is that I see a trend in -mentors that
many new contributors seem to create an artificial need as a reason to
get their contributions in the distribution and choose to package a new

They could, of course, be invited (if publicized more conspicuously, as
I put in my original message) to join/help an existing team as a first
step to learn the packaging issues.

The current approach has some drawbacks (a obviously non-exhaustive list):

  * More existing packages means more need for QA, but we have
    limited resources available. ("Too many packages, none working
    correctly" or "abandon-ware", as some would say).

  * The existing teams need help from trivial things to complex
    tasks. New contributors should be encouraged first to work with them
    as "apprentices" and to, of course, raise the quality of the
    existing software that we already have.

    In other words, let's get what we already have in a good shape before
    embarking in a new ship.

    We usually don't eat something if that is still not prepared. Why
    should software (or any other thing, for that matter) be different?

  * Working with existing people teams helps:

    + Understand the modus operandi of collaborative software production.

    + Foster the mentoring process that the distribution needs to
      keep a steady flux of good maintainers to assure the long-term
      health of the project per se.

      This is good both for the maintainer (explaining skills involve
      what I will call here a mental organization of the tasks to
      clearly see the distilled, main points of the process) and for the
      apprentice, as practical knowledge is gained.

      "(...) true wealth is measured not by what you accumulate, but by
       what you pass on to others." --- Larry Wall, 1999.

I am quite open to listening the opinions of others, so that we can
reach a better understanding of the problems involved.

And one point for "meditation":

Apart from design/preference issues, would we have so many programs
written (which I would even call "false starts") if we had
well-stablished programs that did their proposed goal well?

Perhaps we would, perhaps not.

Regards, Rogério Brito.

Rogério Brito : rbrito@{mackenzie,ime.usp}.br : GPG key 1024D/7C2CAEB8
http://www.ime.usp.br/~rbrito : http://meusite.mackenzie.com.br/rbrito
Projects: algorithms.berlios.de : lame.sf.net : vrms.alioth.debian.org

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