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Re: Removing packages perhaps too aggressively?

On Fri, Feb 02, 2018 at 12:17:14PM -0500, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> On Friday, February 02, 2018 06:30:28 PM Adrian Bunk wrote:
> > On Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 11:18:28PM -0500, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> > > On Thursday, February 01, 2018 11:56:21 AM Paul Wise wrote:
> > > > On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 3:14 AM, Andrej Shadura wrote:
> > > > > For example
> > > > 
> > > > Here is another example of a low-quality RM bug; removal at request of
> > > > the maintainer, with no reason stated.
> > > > 
> > > > https://bugs.debian.org/887554
> > > > 
> > > > As a result of this, DSA has to resort to stretch or snapshot.d.o for
> > > > out-of-band access to our s390x machines.
> > > 
> > > As the FTP team member that processed that removal, I can tell you I think
> > > it's perfectly fine.  I don't think the FTP team should be in the business
> > > of second guessing maintainers that say their packages should be removed.
> > I don't think it should be the sole decision of the maintainer to get
> > a package removed.
> > 
> > Like in the case at hand:
> > Last maintainer upload was in 2014.
> > Maintainer does nothing (including no action on a "new upstream release"
> >                          bug from a user in 2014).
> > Maintainer files RM bug in 2018.
> > 
> > Why does the maintainer have the sole decision here?
> > The package would have been in a better state had it
> > been a QA-maintained orphaned package since 2014.
> Sometimes the maintainer is wrong, but someone has to decide.  There are 
> approximately two choices for who decides:
> 1.  Maintainer, who knows about the package.
> 2.  FTP team member, who does not.
> I guess, in theory, there's a third choice of some committee that reviews 
> these requests before they are referred to the FTP team for action, but I 
> think it would be a horrible idea.

Noone talks about a committee, this is about a pre-removal grace period
where people can raise objections.

testing removals have a grace period, which gives me and others a chance
to fix issues.

Do you have any suggestion better than "ITP immediately followed by 
orphaning" for packages I consider useful but don't want to maintain 
myself long-time?

Note that as sad as it is, the QA maintainance of orphaned packages
is better than the (non)maintainance of a huge part of our packages
that officially have a maintainer - keeping my name in the maintainer
field would be worse than having the QA team there.

> There are packages that do fine as QA maintained and there are others that 
> really should not be in Debian unless someone is watching over them.  I have 
> asked for packages that I maintained to be removed for that reason.  I think 
> the maintainer is the best one to make this call.

A human problem is that it is quick and painless to submit
a zero-reason RM request.

It is much harder for many people to orphan a package,
part of the reason is that this feels like admitting
that she/he has not done a proper job.

Making RM requests as visible as orphaned packages
(e.g. in a weekly debian-devel post) would help here.

> > > If it's important, someone who cares enough should re-introduce the
> > > package.
> > This works nicely, assuming the user who needs the package is a DD and
> > notices immediately.
> > 
> > For normal users who are not following unstable the situation
> > is less rosy.
> > 
> > And if a normal user would notice immediately, what could he/she do?
> > Even an RFP to get a perfectly working package re-added just like it
> > was before the removal has close to zero chance of being acted on.
> I agree that it's not a general solution.  I was referring to this specific 
> case.
> I also think it's difficult for people who don't routinely process rm requests 
> to appreciate how rare a controversial removal is.  It almost never happens 
> (in the context of the large number of requests that get processed).  
> Statistically this is virtually a non-problem.

If you have a 0.1% probability of being killed by a car every day
you cycle to work, would you call that "virtually a non-problem"
or "life expectancy reduced to 4 more years"?

There is also not much time for a removal to become controversial
in a way that you would notice.

Only a tiny fraction of our users are using unstable.
In this specific case it was DSA, and they were using the package
from unstable. That's a rare exception.

If users notice that a package important for them is no longer
in Debian, they will typically notice when it is no longer in
a new stable release.

At that point there should be a removal reason better than
"maintainer who hadn't maintained the package for years
 suddenly decided to have it removed".

> Scott K



       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed

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