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Re: Bug#908155: Coordination with upstream developers not universally applied

Thorsten Glaser writes ("Re: Bug#908155: Coordination with upstream developers not universally applied"):
> As long as it\u2019s a \u201Cshould\u201D in the same sense as
> \u201Cshould fix bugs in their packages\u201D, and package
> maintainers keep an eye on users\u2019 bug reports and, when
> necessary, help them (providing infos to upstream, packages to test
> to users who can\u2019t (easily) build themselves, and, yes,
> definitely *also* forward bugs upstream, occasionally.
> Does this sound like an option?

In some packages this will not be possible at least for some bug
reports.  You've seen the poor quality and hard-to-follow-up bug
reports that some packages get in large numbers.  And it is precisely
the bug reporters who would need the most help to deal with upstream,
where doing the work for them is the most difficult.

We will just have to accept that not all bug reports will be properly
investigated.  We should focus our effort on the bug reports that are
most likely to lead to improvements in the software, given available
levels of effort.  And we should therefore not write things in our
documents that discourage maintainers from prioritising appropriately.

I get the impression that you are looking at this from the point of
view of the user, who wants their bug fixed, and is perhaps not able
or willing to report it upstream.  Such a user does have a problem,
and when one is such a user, it is frustrating.

But, the main point of bug reports, from Debian's point of view, is
not to help users.  As the Information for GNU maintainers has it:

  The main purpose of bug reports is to help you contribute to the
  community by improving the next version of the program. Many of the
  people who report bugs don't realize this - they think that the
  point is for you to help them individually.  Some will ask you to
  focus on that instead of on making the program better.  If you
  comply with their wishes, you will have been distracted from the job
  of maintaining the program.

This means that many users will go un-helped.  That is, sadly,
inevitable.  We in Debian cannot possibly be the support desk for all
our users.  The more successful we become, the less possible that is.

Our responsibility is to enable others, nearer the users, to help
them, by making our software Free and accessible, by providing
appropriate documentation, by (scaleable) outreach activities, and so

What did you think of the text I proposed just over <- there, that
Moritz was happy with ?


Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk>   These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.

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