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Re: Architecture removal and social contract

On Mon, Apr 04, 2011 at 11:19:33AM +0200, Thibaut VARENE wrote:
> I would like to draw your attention to the following thread:
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-hppa/2011/04/msg00001.html

Dear Thibaut, thanks for pointing me to that thread.  As I'm not
subscribed to this list, please Cc:-me upon replies (in case you want to
get my attention).

> and in particular to the following message, which has received no
> answer to date:
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-hppa/2011/04/msg00004.html

In the meantime, that message has received an answer by Aurelien Jarno,
clarifying a couple of important points for this discussion, namely:

1) debian-ports is not part of the Debian infrastructure to date (even
   though it runs on some Debian-sponsored hardware), but rather a
   volunteer independent initiative managed by Aurelien. People who
   benefit already or who might benefit in the future from debian-ports
   services, should really think about volunteering to help Aurelien.

   This is not specifically for you, Thibaut, but rather a general
   comment that readers of this list might find interesting.
   debian-ports offers a valuable service to Debian and is in need of a
   few more helping hands. Unfortunately, no arguing against the lack of
   a corresponding official service are good substitute for those.

2) debian-ports cannot at present host new architectures, due to a lack
   of: a) disk space, b) people power to do the disk replacement at the
   hosting site in Paris. (I've good news on that though, read on)

> I would normally not bother you with such port-specific problems,
> especially when the discussion is so fresh, but:
> a) It is my firm belief that we're going to harm our users, and thus
> Social Contract #4 is at stake

You're right. Any removal of any kind from the Debian archive harms the
user of the component that gets removed, be it a set of packages or,
more painfully, a whole architecture. Unfortunately that does not mean
we can keep everything in Debian given that our resources, be them
hardware- or people-related, are not unlimited.

That is why sometimes we have to establish rules for what can stay and
what should go. It is my understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong)
that hppa has to go according to previously announced rules for
architecture keeping or dropping. I don't think it's my job here to
comment on the general rules (see below for a reason), nor I think that
it's particularly wise to wait for rules to fire for commenting them.

Nonetheless if you, or anyone else, consider those rules faulty, by all
means challenge them! But please do so in the appropriate venues ...

> c) Justifications for this course of action are decisions being made
> on your behalf (by delegation), according to
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-hppa/2011/04/msg00003.html

... and unfortunately the DPL is *not* one such venue. According to
Constitution indeed, the DPL cannot override a delegated decision. The
DPL can revoke the delegation of an ongoing area of responsibility, but
I do not consider that my trust in the FTP masters has been undermined
by this specific decision. So, if you really want to challenge this
decision, the proper way would be to appeal to the CTTE or a GR. So much
for the "formal" part of all this.

Let's try to move on to a more constructive part of this issue now.

> b) The timeframe is very tight, since action is supposed to happen "in
> the next few days"

I do feel the porters pain in seeing an architecture dropped from the
main archive. I also understand that, no matter the non-official status
of debian-ports, not having an alternative place where to go for
architecture FTP masters has decided to drop is even more painful and
perceived as unfair.

I've hence talked with both FTP masters and Aurelien (as part of the
ongoing discussion about the status of debian-ports which has already
been mentioned on this list). With Aurelien, and thanks to the help of
Stephane Glondu, we believe we can add the needed missing space to
debian-ports quickly, let's say in a week or two. FTP masters have
agreed to postpone the removal in the meantime. But please:

- Do not consider this as a good motive to ignore the fact that the
  architectures, according to FTP masters decision, shall go. We hope to
  solve the lack of resources on debian-ports in a timely manner and I'm
  confident it *will* happen, but if that won't happen the architectures
  will be dropped nevertheless.

- Keep in mind that debian-ports is an unofficial commodity offered by a
  fellow DD and that such a commodity is in need of help. Please
  consider helping out Aurelien. That will not only directly contribute
  to the cause of the architectures at stake here, but also avoid part
  of the unpleasantness of all this in the future.

Hope this helps,

Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Quando anche i santi ti voltano le spalle, |  .  |. I've fans everywhere
ti resta John Fante -- V. Capossela .......| ..: |.......... -- C. Adams

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