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Re: A question about patches for upstream

Svante Signell <svante.signell@gmail.com> writes:

> Does the Debian guidelines give any hints on who is responsible to
> report a patch upstream? Is it the bug submitters or the Debian package
> maintainers responsibility (in addition to eventually apply them to the
> packages)?

I don't think we have a clear guideline on it.

The ideal, as far as I'm concerned, is for the Debian package maintainer
to forward bugs upstream.  This has multiple advantages: the package
maintainer is generally capable of producing higher quality bug reports,
they usually have a better relationship with upstream and know which bugs
should be reported and how they should be reported to be effective, they
can filter out all of the bugs that are due to Debian packaging artifacts
or local changes, and that allows us to present a unified bug reporting
interface to our users.

I consider myself responsible for forwarding to upstream all of the
upstream-relevant bug reports on my packages.  (Note that just because
I'm responsible for it doesn't mean it necessarily *happens*.  I'm also
responsible for resolving the package bugs, and yet some of them will
probably not be resolved due to lack of time and resources.)  I'm
certainly happy for anyone else's help (who can do the job properly),
including the original reporter.

That said, the process of forwarding bugs along is sort of annoying in
many cases and may not be a very appealing place for volunteers to spend
their time, so I think it tends to be one of the first things that stops
happening when maintainer teams are overloaded.

I'm not a big fan of telling users not to report bugs against Debian and
instead report them upstream, which has happened a few times.  But in the
interest of transparency, I *do* think it's a good idea for overloaded
teams who are unlikely to find the time and energy to forward relevant
bugs upstream to tell the user that and let them know that they'll
probably have to forward it themselves to have any reasonable chance at
getting the bug fixed.  That's not an ideal situation, of course, but I
think it's better to admit when we're struggling than to let the bugs
silently accumulate and leave the users wondering.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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