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Re: Improving our response to "duplicate" packages in Debian

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 11:24:44AM +1000, Ben Finney wrote:
> Guus Sliepen <guus@debian.org> writes:
> > So, I propose our code of conduct when responding to "duplicate
> > software" ITPs should be:
> >
> > - Don't immediately start complaining to the submitter of the ITP. Just let
> >   the submitter devote his/her energy to packaging.
> It's part of the job of a (prospective) package maintainer to advocate
> for the package. That entails knowing how it compares to rivals for the
> same function.

It is, in my opinion, OK that an ITP is submitted before the packages already
in Debian are studied.  And it is, in my opinion, also OK that anyone compares
the alternatives and comments on the ITP.

> > - Research how many similar software packages are there actually in Debian
> So this effort is the responsibility primarily of the person(s)
> packaging the proposed work.

I agree with Guus Sliepen on this.

> Requests that they do that research are,
> IMO, quite reasonable and should come as early as possible in the
> process.

I agree with "as early as possible in the process".  I think that anyone can do
that research.

> > - Go to the root of the problem: find out why upstream thinks they need to
> >   write their software.
> Again, contacting the upstream is a large part of the job of the package
> maintainer.

If this is part of analyzing why some alternatives exist, then this belongs to
the work that can be done by anyone, see above.

> This code of conduct you lay out is asking others to take responsibility
> From the shoulders of the very people who, IMO, should have that
> responsibility.

I think that what Guus Sliepen wrote is quite reasonable and good for Debian.
An ITP is, in my opinion, just an "intent to package", and thereby only an
intent to take responsibility on the maintenance of the mentioned package.
Anyone can do the effort to find good reasons to object against the ITP, and
that is OK, in my opinion.


Bart Martens

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