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usefulness of ITPs (Re: mosh ITP not done, just package name taken over)

I disagree almost completely.

On 2012-03-25 16:00, Joey Hess wrote:
> But still nothing. ITP is more often than not a pointless bureaucracy.

No, it's not nothing, and it's not a pointless bureaucracy. Filing an
ITP shows your intent to a hundreds of developers, which is:

a) useful for the ITP owner since it advertises the package for
   the prospective users;
b) useful for the Debian project since experienced people may
   immediately point that there are/there were some problems which
   prevented the package to be added before or made the package
   disappear from Debian archives in the past;
c) useful for the Debian project since experienced people may ask
   the ITP owner why to package the thing at all if they know/suspect
   there are superior things in the archive already;
d) useful for the Debian project because people sometimes choose
   too confusing/short names for packages, and answering to an ITP
   is usually the only chance for the public to suggest some better
   name before the package entered the archive, after which the renaming
   is more time-consuming and bureaucratic;
e) useful to prevent a duplicate work.

> The turnaround time for packaging the average package is less than the
> turnaround time in getting back a ITP bug number.

I very doubt that. I even have a doubt that there is a single proper
Debian package for which the time between 'Oh, I will package this' and
uploading a package to archives takes less than 15 minutes (which a BTS
turnaround time for me) as there are too many things to write/check
which require the human attention. But maybe that's me being too slow.

> Chances are very high
> that ITP filing has wasted more time than it's ever saved in duplicated
> work.

Disagree. Filing an ITP bug takes, well, a minute of the developer's
time. One ITP may prevent hours of the duplicate work, and in this case
it "paid" for hundreds of "boring" ITPs, even if we don't count reasons
a)-d) above.

> It's also caused much stalling of legitimate work.

It can cause a bit of stalling in some cases, but is it really "much"?
Especially comparing to license or spare developer time delays?

> The appropriate thing to do when confronted with a months-old ITP
> for a package with the same content or name as your package is almost
> certianly to ignore old "intent" and get on with it.

Absolutely disagree. Hijacking the ITP and/or package name without
saying a single word about that to the ITP bug thread is just plain

Eugene V. Lyubimkin aka JackYF, JID: jackyf.devel(maildog)gmail.com
C++/Perl developer, Debian Developer

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