[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Debian systemd survey

On May 23, 2013, at 02:17 PM, Josselin Mouette wrote:

>I’m not criticizing the fact that upstart comes from Ubuntu. I disagree
>with the idea of having Ubuntu as the sole origin of innovation in the
>project. It gives bad habits to both Debian and Ubuntu if the natural
>thing to do to make things happen in Debian is to make them happen in
>Ubuntu first. For a comparable innovation, I’m thankful to Canonical for
>making multiarch happen, but the fact that we have waited for Ubuntu to
>make it happen is the symptom of a Debian problem that needs solving.

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing for Debian and Ubuntu to have this
kind of symbiotic relationship.  Maybe from a Debian point of view, it
shouldn't be necessary, but given the current realities of differing release
schedules, goals, focus, and resources, where such an arrangement exists, I
think it can - and should - be used for mutual benefit.

This of course requires good coordination between the parties involved in both
distributions, and motivated people in both camps that want to strengthen
collaboration.  Of course, some folks will only have feet in one or the other,
and that's fine too.

Some recent examples include transitions we've seen in the Python world.  The
push for dh_python2, the push for Python 3 support, and the transition to
newer versions of the interpreter are all great examples (IMHO) where Debian
and Ubuntu worked together to come to some semblance of consensus, and where
Ubuntu, by benefit of its timed release schedule was able to be more
aggressive in adopting some of those transitions.  It was also able to
experience and alleviate some of the pain first too.  But this was *always*
done with the goal of ensuring those changes would get pushed back into Debian
when the time was right.  In such cases, the assistance, insight, expertise,
resources, and feedback of experienced Debian developers was crucial.

It's usually (but not always) easier to get changes that appear in Debian
first, migrated into Ubuntu.  IME, it's often harder to get changes from
Ubuntu into Debian.  I think there's ample opportunity to help make this
barrier lower on both sides of the pond.  Some of the hurdles include:

- Team based vs. individual maintainership.  In Ubuntu, no one person (or
  group of people) maintains any package.  There's a strong sense of team for
  maintaining packages.  This has an advantage in that important updates need
  not block on availability, workload, vacations, etc. of individual
  maintainers (not that it can't block on other reasons).  In Debian, teams
  like PAPT and DPMT do help with this.

- Membership differences.  I am currently sitting on the Ubuntu Developer
  Membership Board, and I am in the final stages of my DD application.
  Applying for DD was way more thorough than achieving core-dev in Ubuntu.
  Now, this may or may not be a good thing, but one of the key things that the
  DMB is addressing is how to streamline approval for DDs.  It should be
  fairly clear that a DD has the requisite technical expertise to package
  things for Ubuntu, so the initial interaction with the DMB can (mostly)
  accept that as a given, and thus explore other requirements of Ubuntu
  membership.  Hopefully (and I'd like to hear if otherwise) this means that a
  DD who wants to also contribute to Ubuntu, should be able to get the needed
  permissions fairly quickly and easily.  In Debian, it would be nice if the
  process were made easier, or more inviting for Ubuntu developers[1].

- Tool mismatches.  I just wish it were easier to build packages for both
  Debian and Ubuntu, but the tools chains are sufficiently different that it's
  difficult to switch your (well, *my* ;) brain into Debian mode from Ubuntu
  mode and vice versa.  Part of it is dealing with Ubuntu Distribute
  Development (UDD), which I'm very comfortable with, and which gives me a
  source-full checkout of a package (debian/ + unpacked upstream) all managed
  in a DVCS branch.  I can grab the source for any version of any package on
  any release of Ubuntu (and actually, Debian too!) through Launchpad[2], so
  it's easy to make a change, do merges from Debian or upstream, build it
  locally, test it, and upload it.  I personally find the Debian tools (svn
  instead of a dvcs, debian/ only directory) harder to deal with, but maybe
  that's just me.  I've said before that as much as I dislike git, if Debian
  had something like UDD+bzr but git based and more interoperable with quilt
  packages, I'd use it.  Also, I do think that Ubuntu's source-only uploads
  are a win.  PPAs are nice too, as are the new -proposed pocket for the
  in-development release.

- All is not roses in Ubuntu-land though.  When uploads to Debian are delayed
  (e.g. because of release freezes), then Ubuntu can get ahead of Debian in
  ways that are more difficult to untangle.  Ubuntu's auto-import from Debian
  gets blocked whenever a package has an -NubuntuM version number.  These take
  manual effort to resync, but of course even that's not always possible since
  some Ubuntu-specific deltas won't or can't be adopted into Debian (e.g. a
  build-dependency crossing main and universe).  I wonder if there's isn't a
  way to make this smoother so packages can more easily cross the chasm.

Anyway, I've rambled enough.  My intent wasn't to offend either community, but
just to say that Debian and Ubuntu work best when they appeal to their
strengths, but always strive for collaboration.  And maybe there's opportunity
to ease some of the rough spots.


[1] Please note that I am not complaining about my own personal DD journey.
My experience, although it took a long time, was a great learning experience,
and quite pleasant.  I have nothing but respect and gratitude for my AM and
the Front Desk.

[2] Well, assuming the importer hasn't barfed on the package.

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: