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Re: Feedback on 3.0 source format problems

On Tue, Jan 03, 2017 at 07:24:18PM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Nikolaus Rath <Nikolaus@rath.org> writes:
> > Are there really upstreams that do that? I'd expect that the primary
> > consumer of Debian patches are other distributions, downstreams, and
> > users.
> > I'd think that anything that's relevant for upstream development is
> > forwarded to upstream by the maintainer in whatever format upstream
> > prefers. This requires extra time, but I would be surprised to hear if
> > there are maintainers that have sufficient time to create patches that
> > are suitable for upstream, but don't have the little extra time to send
> > them upstream.
> There are definitely upstreams who like to look at what patches Debian is
> shipping at their convenience, rather than having to ask the maintainer.
> The maintainer may have already sent along the patches, but it's easy to
> lose track of what patches are still being applied.

> The other case where being able to point upstream at a directory of
> patches is very nice is when upstream has been dormant for a long time and
> then comes back to life.  It's an easy way for them to pull a bunch of
> changes at once for a new development cycle.
> I've also found it significantly smooth over relations with upstreams who
> are otherwise quite prickly about modifications to their distributed
> releases.  Having all the patches be published and clearly documented
> somewhere without anyone having to ask wins points for transparency and
> makes them feel like the whole process is less out of control and more
> congenial and collaborative, even if you were also in the habit of sending
> changes upstream.  It eliminates the fear that you're also applying other
> ugly hacks you're not telling them about that might be maintenance burdens
> for them.

Thanks for the nice summary. I now wonder:

If we want a way to present this as a git view for a 3.0 (quilt)
packages one could make gbp pq create a branch that contains the patched
tree (like "gbp pq import" but on top of upstream branch and not on top
of the debian branch). This branch would be directly mergeable by
upstream.  If we tag after the import these histories would be stable
and if one wants these to be fast-forwardable then the topmost commits
can be joined by pseudo merges and one could track the history of each
commit. I did not yet see the point to add this since:

a) these branches usually have debian specific upstream modifications,
cherry-picks _from_ upstream and new fixes _for_ upstream intermixed so
upstream would cherry-pick at best but never merge

b) upstream usually wants specific patches on top of its current version
not of the version we're currently working in Debian. This can be done
with gbp pq import and git cherry-pick or rebase already.

so I usually:

* use tarballs (since uscan is so convenient)
* add upstreams history as a detached history
* cherry pick between the debian branch and upstreams master (or any
  other of upstream's branches)
* point upstream to debian/patches on alioth (or much more often
  git-send-email directly)

so would adding such a view make any sense nevertheless?
 -- Guido

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