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Re: duplicates in the archive



On Sun, 24 Jun 2012 20:46:55 +0000
Bart Martens <bartm@debian.org> wrote:

> > The maintainer has to make that judgement, it's just one of the things
> > maintainers have to do. popcon is no indicator here, it is about
> > whether there is a bug in Debian, independent of this package.
> 
> Not only the maintainer but also the many users judge how useful a package is
> in Debian.  This judgement cannot always be made at ITP time.  Popcon does
> indicate how popular the package is, doesn't it ?

Popcon indicates almost nothing - least of all popularity. The
weaknesses of popcon for archive-related questions is well documented.
It might give a hint but it is *not* a reliable indicator.

99% of the Debian machines I install have no means of communicating via
popcon - ever. What's installed on those is completely invisible.

> > I apply
> > the same criteria to all my packages and I have and will continue to
> > remove any which do not merit a place in a stable release.
> 
> I see no problem with removing packages that don't belong in a Debian stable
> release.  But weren't we talking about judging at ITP time on whether the
> package is allowed to enter Debian ?

Yes. An ITP is a bug in Debian and bugs need to be triaged - triage
involves assessing whether the bug is valid. Before trying to fix the
problem, identify that the problem is the problem you think it is.

That kind of response makes me think that you haven't tried to remove a
set of packages and have no idea how difficult it can be.

> > What *quality* issue is meant to being fixed by a new package? If
> > there's none, then the ITP is invalid and the package is without merit.
> > Just like any other bug - if the submitter has just got it wrong (for
> > whatever reason), the bug can be deemed invalid. Sometimes an
> > improvement to the documentation can help others not make the same
> > error, sometimes the docs are fine and it's just a mistake.
> 
> I don't think that an ITP is only valid if it fixes something in Debian.
> Sometimes a package is worth entering Debian simply because it is good free
> software, regardless of any alternatives already in Debian.

Rubbish. Complete tosh. That is precisely the attitude that leads to
Debian being seen as a dumping ground for vanity packages and other
trash.

An ITP is a statement that there is some *functionality* absent in
Debian. Someone cannot do something because the existing packages don't
provide that functionality - that is a justification for a new package
but it can also be justification for a patch to an existing package.
Copying ITP bugs to this list is one of the ways of spotting when that
can be done instead of adding another package.

If I file a bug against one of your packages that it needs to do
something which would be a complete waste of your time, do you not
have the right and obligation to tell me to not be so stupid and to
close the bug as invalid? Well, WNPP is one of your packages just as it
is one of mine because it comes under the QA team.

> > Multiple implementations hurt the archive, waste ftpmaster time, waste
> > QA time, waste wanna-build time, waste Debian resources, complicate
> > transitions and often collect RC bugs. In short, the more duplicates
> > there are, the higher the percentage of those duplicates which will
> > go to rot in the archive, causing aggravation for everyone.
> 
> I'm not convinced that the above applies to "multiple implementations" more
> than to simply "many packages".  Neglected packages about should be removed.
> That applies to any package in Debian, not only to "multiple implementations".

Yes, so do both. There are still plenty of packages which could
justifiably be removed before Wheezy is released.

> > Competition is useful, surfeit is harmful.
> > 
> > If a new package does have merit compared to all the existing
> > equivalents, then explain those merits and let your peers judge the
> > package.
> 
> If there are sufficient volunteers who want to spend their time on packaging
> the software and maintaining it in Debian, then why not let the users judge the
> package ?

There never *ARE* enough volunteers. Even if there are today, there is
no guarantee that there will be by the time of the next release and
when volunteers give up, they tend not to have time to tidy up after
themselves by removing packages.

Why do you think we have so many RC bugs? We never have enough
volunteers - if we did, we could have frozen at the start of June and
we would make the release on the last day of DebConf.

As it is, we have over 670 RC bugs right now and we only have one Gregor
Herrmann.

> > The issue is to fix the problem in Debian, not just introduce a new
> > package which fixes nothing.
> 
> The issue is to allow new packages a chance in Debian to rise above the
> existing alternatives in Debian.  This cannot always be judged at ITP time.

On what basis are things going to "rise above" if there is nothing which
separates them from the existing packages?

NotInventedHere syndrome should *not* be welcome in Debian. That's not
progress, that's just abusing the contributions of your peers.

Don't make more work for people.

-- 


Neil Williams
=============
http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/

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