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Re: Architecture removal and social contract

On Tue, Apr 05, 2011 at 12:27:22PM +0200, Thibaut VARENE wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 10:20 AM, Stefano Zacchiroli <leader@debian.org> wrote:
> > 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).
> Thank you for looking into this.
> >> 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:
> Only one of the points I was making. Allow me to restate them here:
> 1) what's the cost of letting the unstable buildds run on a "don't
> care" basis? (question which I asked before and which remained
> unanswered)
> 2) what's to become of the hppa hardware currently in "Debian's
> hands"? (autobuilders, porter boxes): if the port is gone, maybe they
> can be put to better use elsewhere?
> 3) is it acceptable that such a decision, which has a clear impact on
> our users (and thus "breaches" social contract #4) be made by
> delegation, and not by voting?
> > 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.
> Sure, you have a point. Yet it seems rather strange that in view of
> SC#4, a "transition" from a Debian-sponsored infrastructure to an
> independent-maintained one be considered "fine" ...
> BTW, I'm grateful to Aurélien for putting up this infrastructure already.
> > 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.
> I'm fully aware of this. Please understand I'm not only questioning
> the decision itself, I'm also questioning the process that led to this
> decision (read on).
> > 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.
> Actually, I think this is the main point of contention: as far as I
> can see from the numerous emails I've re-read to make sure I didn't
> miss anything, it *never* was an option that hppa be removed from the
> archive (i.e. that the autobuilders be stopped and the unstable
> archive be removed).

This possibility was mentioned by ftp master here:

And further discussed here:

And discussed in the IRC porter meeting that was held on 2011.02.01.

Personally, I don't know how much time I'm willing to commit to an
"unstable-only" port. Right now it is nice that we can run lenny on
buildds to build sid - but when lenny ceases to get updates, what will
our buildds run? And, realistically, how will users install new
systems? There's no guarantee that you can install lenny and upgrade
to sid w/o going through squeeze first.


> There were numerous discussions regarding not releasing Debian 6.0 for
> hppa, and also some talks about removing hppa from testing (I think it
> was to avoid blocking packages migration on other archs), but it was
> (again, AFAICT) _never stated_ that this would imply a definitive
> removal of hppa from the archive. Many users are fine with just
> running unstable (hence question #1 above).
> > 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.
> Where are those "rules" written? I'm aware of discussions leading to a
> set of decisions (such as not releasing 6.0 for hppa). I'm not aware
> of any Debian document on www.debian.org/doc/ or www.debian.org/devel/
> (Policy, or others) that say something about when an architecture must
> be removed.
> Where I'm getting at is the fact that it seems only a few people make
> these rules and that doesn't look very "democratic" to me, especially
> if (as seems to be the case) there is no prior framework for such
> decisions...
> > Nonetheless if you, or anyone else, consider those rules faulty, by all
> > means challenge them! But please do so in the appropriate venues ...
> To do that I'd first need to be aware of them...
> >> 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
> Thanks for clarifying that point. As a side note I find it interesting
> that the *elected* DPL cannot override a *designated* delegate's
> decision. That could pave the way for some interesting problems in the
> future...
> > 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.
> Noted.
> > 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:
> Thanks, this sounds already more reasonable.
> > - 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
> I'm not. I feel dismay from the fact that the FTP masters can take
> such a decision (which I still don't know the underlying "rules")
> without any kind of review, given, again, that SC#4 will be breached.
> >  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.
> That prompts the question of why is this an unofficial commodity, but
> I suppose this is another debate.
> Thanks for taking the time to answer my email,
> T-Bone
> PS: I'm fully aware that I seem to be the only one (save for another
> post from a user on d-hppa which remained unanswered) to care enough
> about this matter to blow some whistles, so maybe indeed nobody is
> using debian-hppa anymore and you can just ignore the fuss I'm making,
> save for the fact that unless some of the points I'm making are
> addressed, the situation might arise again in the future...

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