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forwarding bugs upstream - opt-in, delayed, automated

After GHM [1], I've head a lengthy discussion with Steve White (Cc:-ed,
GNU maintainer [upstream]) about Debian's procedures for forwarding bugs

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2011/09/msg00004.html

The conversion touched the usual suspects:

- Debian is committed to forward bugs upstream
- that should happen in a timely manner but only after triaging
  (otherwise many upstream will get upset for non relevant reports)
- due to manpower issue that does not always happen (timely) and some
  upstream might get upset about that
- PTS subscriptions mitigate the problem, but only for upstreams willing
  to withstand the load of all untriaged Debian bugs (that might be
  significant and prone to many false positives for popular software)

A tentative bottom line of the discussion is that:

- we are not always doing our part in forwarding bugs upstream (of
  course: we try hard, but we can surely do better) and there will
  always be corner cases (e.g. MIA maintainers, orphaned packages, etc.)
- we do offer mechanisms that upstream could use to mitigate the
  problem, but they have significant drawbacks

Steve suggested a feature that might improve the status quo:

- enable people to subscribe to bug traffic only if it matches specific
  tags (the idea being of forwarding upstream only the traffic for
  "confirmed" bugs)

- add a DELAYED-like mechanism where upstream is notified of a bug only
  if the package maintainer fails to "deal with" the bug in a specific
  timeframe, say, 10 days ("deal with" may be defined in various ways,
  e.g.: "post to the bug log", "closes the bug", details need to be
  fleshed out a bit on this point)

Both features will most likely end up being proper feature requests
against the BTS and/or the PTS. They look completely non-intrusive with
respect to what we already offer and they will be opt-in anyhow. The
DELAYED part is not entirely trivial to implement, but Steve is
interested in helping out.

The main reason why I'm posting here is to gather feedback about the
idea, in particular from people willing to try guessing whether their
respective upstreams could benefit from something similar or not.

Many thanks to Steve for the interesting discussion!
Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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