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Re: Forwarding bugs upstream

Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> writes:

> Indeed, the Debian project can't demand or require any work of anyone. I
> think it's perfectly acceptable for any such volunteer to refuse to do
> the work.

> But if they do refuse, then to what extent is that person accomplishing
> the maintainer role?

I feel like it's rare for any of us, and I'm definitely including myself,
to completely accomplish the maintainer role.  There's always more work
that I could be doing: bugs that are still open, things that could be
improved, project-wide updates that need attention, etc.  While it's
useful to have an idea of that to-do list, I'm not sure it's useful to
beat oneself or others up about not completely accomplishing everything we
want to do as maintainers.  This is a volunteer project, after all (and
even in a non-volunteer project, tasks would be prioritized and some
wouldn't get done because they just weren't high enough priority).

What I think many people are saying in this thread is that, among all the
things that a Debian package maintainer could do to improve the package
and user experience of those using the package, being a go-between for
Debian bug reporters and upstream is something they consider low priority.
It may be something they'd be willing to do if they have free time after
doing other work, or it may be so low-priority that it's below the
threshold of work they're willing to volunteer for, but either way it's
just less important than other things that need doing and therefore will
often go undone.

That seems like a reasonable position to take to me.

I think the question of to what extent a person is accomplishing a
maintainer role is really only a useful question to ask project-wide, in
places like debian-devel (as opposed to personally, when deciding what one
wants to take on) if we're considering either replacing the maintainer or
booting the package for not being properly maintained.  I have a hard time
imagining not forwarding bugs upstream to rise to the level of undone
tasks to warrant contemplating either of those actions in most cases.

Note that most of the push-back against the work of forwarding bugs
upstream is from maintainers of huge packages like X, GNOME, or the
kernel, teams that have been begging for help for years.  We're obviously
not going to kick those packages out of the archive, and we're obviously
not going to replace the existing maintainers given that the problem we're
having is no one volunteering to be a maintainer (and hence no one else is
going to do a better job than the people who are already working on those
packages).  So there doesn't seem to be much point in discussing things
from that angle.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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