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Re: Bug#649274: Forming a new upstream for timidity (and reporting various issues with current deb pkg)

On Sat, 19 Nov 2011 15:05:00 +0100
Hans de Goede <hdegoede@redhat.com> wrote:

> This is a bit unusual bug-report I'm afraid normally I would've
> send this as an email to the Debian package maintainer of
> timidity, but it seems that timidity is currently orphaned in
> Debian :|

There has been no interest from anyone wanting to take over Debian
maintenance of timidity since the previous maintainer orphaned it. It
now has a release critical bug because the current source fails to
build. The bug has been open for 3 months and is sufficient reason to
remove timidity from Debian today. As you've expressed some interest,
I'm willing to not file the removal bug right now but that doesn't
exclude someone else doing precisely that.

Given the status of the package in Debian, it is more likely that
timidity will be removed rather than updated. Maybe once there is a
functioning upstream and a new upstream release, someone may
reintroduce the package into Debian.

CC'ing the only person to express some interest. Geoffrey, if you are
no longer interested in timidity, despite signs of interest from a
possible new upstream, please retitle #585039 as O: instead of ITA:

Hans: have you any clues about the pulseaudio issues?

Joost Yervante Damad comments in the bug report orphaning timidity:
> If you want to take over maintenance, be prepared to deal with obscure 
> pulseaudio issues.

I think it would also be a very good idea, Hans, if you put a short
message on bug #585039 about your interest in a new, fixed, upstream
release as this will be one of the places people will look before
seeking removal of timidity. That said, interest from upstream is not
of itself going to stop removal from Debian.

> The reason I'm sending this mail is because one of the Fedora
> packages I (co)maintain is timidity. Recently we got a number
> of bugreports related to timidity, and one of the conclusions
> was that timidity needs some love.

I sympathise, I've felt the same about other packages and gone into the
cycle of getting the SourceForge project re-assigned, porting the code
to current libraries and systems, only to find that the codebase really
cannot sustain a second transition or some dependency simply becomes
abandonware. The workload can gradually become unsustainable and
sometimes it's simpler to just accept that the package has had too much
bit rot already and it would be easier to drop it.
> I also went through all the changes in the Debian package, and
> were relevant have added those too. Note that I deliberately
> did not include a few of the changes from Debian, as I believe
> they are wrong! See below for details.

As the potential new upstream, you are welcome to make that decision.
It's better for Debian if there is just a new upstream release and
then someone with sufficient interest (not me!) can look at what might
need to be done to bring the Debian package up to date.

Sadly, it is more likely that timidity will have to be removed and
then, possibly, reintroduced if (and only if) someone reading this
message gets sufficiently motivated to work on timidity in Debian. 

> So now I've a nice and polished version of timidity, and given
> that the latest official release has been 6 years ago I think
> it would be good to do a new official release, hence I've
> contacted the current admin and developers of the sf.net
> timidity project, hopefully they will allow me to take over
> the sf.net project, I would have loved to work together
> with the Debian maintainer on forming a new upstream, but alas.

When there is a new release available via SF or some other site,
please update bugs #649274 and #585039. (Don't feel obliged to keep with
SF but generally I've found them supportive when someone offers to
adopt an abandoned project). 

> I believe this patch is meant to fix a compiler warning, unfortunately
> the patch does more then that, it actually changes the meaning of the code.

... as long as the package now builds on current Debian unstable
(make distcheck using gcc-4.6 with binutils-gold on any current
GNU/Linux distro will be a good test)...

Sorry I cannot comment on the patches themselves, I don't care about
timidity - my only concern is that broken & abandoned packages in Debian
either find new maintainers or get removed.

> Before looking at the Debian changes I spend an entire day tracking down
> what I believe is the real cause for Debian bug 536252, after a similar
> issue was reported in Fedora bug 710927:
> https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=710927

Be assured that your effort is respected but unless someone steps up to
maintain your work in Debian, timidity *will* be removed.

Now that timidity is on my radar, I'll keep an eye on it. If nobody
responds to #649274 or #585039 or fixes the fail to build bug #639196
then I will ask for removal of timidity from Debian unstable and
testing in ~ 10 days.

> As said I hope to do a new upstream release soon, amongst a lot of bugfixes
> this will also include IPV6 support for the relevant bits of timidity.

If timidity doesn't get IPv6 support soon, it will end up being removed
from Debian due to other release requirements anyway. That is another
good reason to remove the current version of timidity unless someone
steps up to introduce the new upstream release.

So, overall, there are three very good reasons to remove the current
timidity version from Debian - each of which is sufficient reason for
removal on their own. Someone needs to adopt it and get your new
release uploaded real soon now.


Neil Williams

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