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Re: Bits from the Release Team - Kicking off Wheezy


Raphael Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org> writes:
> On Sat, 30 Apr 2011, Marc 'HE' Brockschmidt wrote:
>> Raphael, it would be so great to reply to messages in single mails
>> instead of squeezing (are you release-themed, or what?) all of your
>> answers into one mail. I'm really tired of chasing a specific answer
>> From you through the whole thread.
> I thought it was a good practice to reduce the overall amount of mails and
> to be able to avoid too many repetitions or references to other mails.

It means that my MUA, which is good as threading, cannot help me to
organize discussions. It requires me to spend time instead of CPU cycles.

>> Raphael Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org> writes:
>>> But I don't plan to work on any of those if the project does not agree to
>>> promote testing to something that can be advertised as usable by end-users
>>> and as something that we strive to support on a best-effort basis.
>> What does a best-effort basis mean?  I cannot imagine a use case where this
>> might make sense, and I haven't found any presentation of one by you.
> "best-effort" characterizes the way we contribute to Debian, it means
> the maintainer should do its best to ensure his packages in testing are
> in a good shape. 

So "best-effort" is only a new label for the current status, right?

> Right now, a maintainer can legitimately ignore testing until freeze
> because Debian does not support testing, testing is just a tool to prepare
> a release.

Who does that? Is that a relevant problem you have examples for?
Preferably related to non-fringe packages?

>> Who is going to install a "rolling" release instead of "testing"?
> If we change our documentation to say that rolling can be used by anyone
> who likes a constantly evolving distribution (and can live with the
> occasionnal hiccup) and that we will do our best to support it, then the
> public of testing/rolling will be larger.

Why can't we do the same for testing and have the same result?

> And a larger public, in particular in that set of users who likes bleeding
> edge stuff, is likely to mean more efficient testing of packages and
> possibly more contributors.

Yeah, where "likely" means "you believe it" - I don't. You seem to
believe that Debian's attractiveness is directly depending on providing
newer software - I don't.

Debian once was attractive for users because it was introducing new,
wonderful technologies to a broader user base. Proper package
management, well-tested integration of packages, the ability to automate
installations, thousands of packages, ... were features that at some
point of time were things that Debian provided and no other big
distribution did. Today, almost every other Linux distribution provides
all these features.

In the last years, Debian hasn't been able to contribute any important
feature to the F/OSS distribution world - change (leading to both good
or bad results) happens at other places (namely Ubuntu) at the moment.
I believe this has a simple, technical reason - Debian has become too
big. Every change requires a massive amount of work on thousands of
packages, interaction with hundreds of (sometimes absent) volunteers and
is thus increasingly costly. This high cost makes experiments
impossible, because backing out of a change is a waste of the scare
resources of the Debian project.

Debian is perfectly good at holding the status quo - it's a
well-integrated, stable, mostly state of the art distribution suited for
almost anything you can come up with. Trying to repaint one of the
existing bikesheds with your new "rolling" color will not attract the
developers (nor users) interested in making it a hip place again.


[Yes, I'm old and frustrated. Do not comment on that part.]

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