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Re: Too much disruptive NMUs


On Sun, May 23, 2010 at 10:01:22AM +0200, Jan Hauke Rahm wrote:
> On Sun, May 23, 2010 at 08:40:44AM +0200, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> > On 22/05/10 at 15:07 +0200, Ana Guerrero wrote:
> > > Hi,
> > > 
> > > It is good to care for packages from people who are currently too busy and
> > > making NMUs to fix critical/very important bugs. However, lately I have been
> > > seeing a lot of NMUs that are being very disruptive [0], you have a couple of
> > > examples below [1]. (This is not against Jari or Nobihuro, they are just the 
> > > latest examples I have seen today).
> > > 
> > > I know this is done with the best intentions but if you think the package 
> > > is in bad shape or neglected by the maintainer then it might better write 
> > > to mia@, debian-qa@ or open a bug asking whether the package should be 
> > > orphaned (or even removed). Both examples below are candidates to be orphaned.
> > > 
> > > If you think this kind of changes are good, please start a discussion about
> > > changing this in the developers-reference.
> > 
> > Our standard process for addressing issues with such packages is the MIA
> > process. However, the MIA process takes quite a lot of time, and it has
> > happen in the past that it was completely stalled due to a lack of
> > manpower. Also, there are cases where the maintainer will respond to the
> > MIA team, preventing the orphaning of his packages, despite not working
> > on his packages.
> Both true, unfortunately.

I suggested in my first email also "open a bug asking whether the package
should be orphaned" to avoid stalling possible qa-orphaning uploads. I really
think this is the way to go there.
A lot of people when notified about a NMU of their packages do nothing, because 
they are happy somebody else is caring about their packages while they are
However if the maintainer is really inactive and get an email asking if s/he
is still interested in working in the package it is different, you are being
asked something and you should answer.
This does not mean you should not mail the MIA team at the same time, but you 
do not need to wait action from them (specially if the maintainer agrees
on orphaning), and if we can help globally on removing some work from the
shoulders of the MIA team, the better :D
If the bug keeps unanswered you can ping after some time, it is kept open
even if you do a NMU and after some months without some action, it is time of
retitling it as an orphan bug.

Partially this solves the problem Lucas pointed here, when you have a few bugs 
like those open against a package and routinely closed by the maintainer 
saying "I am still interested I will work on it", you can see publically 
there is a pattern there...
Of course, private details keep going to the non public mia@ alias.

> > So, I think that preparing an NMU that fixes small problems in the
> > package at the same time as contacting the MIA team is a good thing. It
> > helps to improve the quality of Debian, and alleviates the problem of
> > temporarily busy maintainer.
> Ack.

If you contact the MIA team we are not talking about a "temporarily
busy maintainer" we are talking about somebody who seems to have been MIA
for some time.
On my experience, a temporarily busy maintainer is somebody who tells 
you: "go ahead with your NMU I am busy" and usually this package does not need 
too many small fixes because it is more or less maintained.

> > I'd like to encourage Jari and Nobihuro to continue that work, but to
> > make sure that:
> > - they contact the MIA team about the maintainers of the packages they
> >   NMU
> > - the packages they NMU are really _useful_ and should be kept in Debian
> > - they don't NMU actively maintained packages by mistake. If there are
> >   documented efforts to contact the maintainer, using the DELAYED queue
> >   with a long delay would help with that.
> Ack but still:
> - don't be too disruptive!
> I don't think that changing to dh7, i.e. debian/rules to the tiniest
> form, switching a package from dpatch to quilt to finally switch it to
> 3.0 (quilt) are changes that should be done, even if they seem useful.
> And there are more examples.
> I guess the problem is, as usual, where to draw the line.

Yeah, we have here problems with the "don't be too disruptive" part, the 
concept of what a minimal changes seems to be *very* subjective :-)


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