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Re: [Debian-NYC] Automating backporting (was Re: Workshop #2: using what we've learned)

* Kumar Appaiah <a.kumar@alumni.iitm.ac.in> [2009-11-05 15:19-0500]:
> On Thu, Nov 05, 2009 at 03:04:08PM -0500, Daniel Kahn Gillmor wrote:
> > On 11/05/2009 02:37 PM, Lee Azzarello wrote:
> > > +1 for backports. I deal with the same issues in production.
> > 
> > the backports process is also worth keeping in mind for folks who are
> > packagers (even if they don't backport), because the standard backports
> > process (at least as i practice it) has trouble dealing with use of the
> > newest and fanciest packaging tools.
> (Semi off-topic query - no intention to hijack thread)

I'm not sure if stating that you don't intend to hijack makes it not
happen :)

> I won't be able to participate in the workshop, but I have had a
> question for quite a while; can you guys think of an elegant way to
> automate the backporting process? By this, I mean I'd like to write a
> single script, say lenny-backport, which:

Have you seen the script that Russ Allbery has written to do this?


> - Takes a package name from testing/unstable
> - Adds a changelog entry
> - Builds the package in a Lenny chroot
> - Uploads it to a (possibly local) Lenny Backport archive

I'm not sure if the script does all of this or not, I haven't had a
chance to try it out yet, but I would like to.

One thing I would like to note is that although the backports.org
archive is DD/DM-upload only, uploads there can be sponsored, and I
encourage people who are bothering to do backports, to contribute them
there so others can benefit. Putting them in a local archive only helps
you, as the Free Software Song goes[0]

Join us now and share the software;
You'll be free, hackers, you'll be free.

Hoarders may get piles of money,
That is true, hackers, that is true.
But they cannot help their neighbors;
That's not good, hackers, that's not good.

> Needless to say, this is bound to fail on several packages which may
> need manual intervention. But for several well maintained packages (by
> which I mean those packages which are backport-friendly), this might
> be a neat way to make a quick backport in a single command.

At the recent debconf there was some discussion about setting up a
system to automatically backport all debian packages that had not
received a special tag in the BTS to prohibit the automatic backport
(either because the maintainer does not wish it to happen, or there are
problems that keep it from happening), the idea would be that
maintainers would get buildd-type reports to help them sort out these
corner cases for their own packages... It was mostly a pie in the sky
idea as I dont think anyone is actually implementing it, but it would be
an interesting one to play with if you were so inclined!

> I've fiddled around a bit with this, and my (rather clumsy)
> implementation is available here:
> http://wiki.debian.org/AutomateBackports
> P. S. Some nice suggestions were discussed here: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.debian.user/359917

I'll have to take a look at both of these, sounds interesting!


0. http://www.gnu.org/music/free-software-song.html

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