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Re: Allowing QA uploads for DMs (was: A lot of pending packages)

On Tue, 15 Jun 2010 21:28:19 +0200
Jakub Wilk <jwilk@debian.org> wrote:

> * Neil Williams <codehelp@debian.org>, 2010-06-15, 08:50:
> >What about if Debian QA packages were all to be deemed suitable for
> >DM upload, including those which have been orphaned for over 2 months
> >without a change of maintainer? Maybe when an orphaned package is
> >uploaded with the change of maintainer to Debian QA, the DM upload
> >field could also be set?
> If a package is neglected, it is *harder* (sometimes way harder) to 
> maintain, which makes it *less* suitable for DMs.

I disagree completely. A new package has no end of potential pitfalls
and non-obvious problems which inexperienced maintainers will miss. A
"stale" or neglected package has at least had some attention in the
first place and only needs a few tweaks, not a wholesale update to the
latest-greatest-cool-gizmo status.

Whether a package is orphaned or not has no particular bearing on the
complexity of the packaging task compared to NEW packages. Adding yet
another python script or CPAN package is not useful. Fixing stuff that
is already in use is more helpful. Some are more difficult than others,
same with NEW packages - it is up to the maintainer to decide.

At least with an orphaned package, the maintainer often has a waiting
community of users. New packages might take months to get more than a
dozen users.

This isn't about updating the upstream code, just keeping orphaned
packages ticking over on something approaching current Policy instead
of something pre-dating Etch. 

> I consider QA/adoption uploads without DD assistance unacceptable.

A QA upload might just be a case of updating the Maintainer and fixing
some lintian issues. You could see it "fixing stuff without the hassle
of writing the manpage and copyright file". Could be more appealing
than a new package where everything has to be done at once.

OK, there are difficult packages which are orphaned but there are
difficult packages which would be new to Debian too. There's also the
instant feedback, instead of waiting for the package to get through NEW.

There's no need to bring orphaned packages up to DH7, migrate the
packaging into git or change all the patches over to a new system and
the rest; it's orphaned, just make sure it is lintian clean, close a few
bugs if you can. The existing packaging may be out of date but that's
fine, unless the maintainer is going to adopt the package, it can stay
"behind current" as long as it works.

*Interest* in the package is much more important than the current state
of that package. Encouraging maintainers to invest their time in QA
makes more sense than adding more NEW packages to become the QA
workload of the future. Directing everyone at NEW is counter-productive
and encourages more horrible first-time packages.

At least if people spend time on QA then the bugs filed against
packages in QA stand half a chance of being fixed.


Neil Williams

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