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Re: ppc64el porter situation

Hello Adrian,

Let me share my view as the only DD listed as ppc64el porter.

On Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 10:50:01PM +0300, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> Is a DM enough, if the only DD gets killed by a car [2] the day after
> the release of stretch?

The other DM is in the process of becoming a DD[1]. This might reduce
the truck factor by half.

[1] https://nm.debian.org/person/frediz

> Second, all 4 committed porters seem to be employees of IBM.
> What happens if for whatever good or bad reason IBM decides in 2018
> or 2019 to go away from ppc64el, and all 4 committed porters get fired?

I understand your point here. ppc64el architecture is IBM's current and
future focus. ppc64el is also planned for POWER9 and beyond. While it's
hard to predict what future business decisions IBM may make, we believe
the future of ppc64el and OpenPower systems looks good.

There are many other distros that support ppc64el at this moment, as
Ubuntu, Fedora, SLES, RHEL and others coming. So, your point is not
Debian specific, but, generic to the Linux ecossystem.

> The wording of the porter commitment is already limited to "I intend
> to", and there is the single point of failure that one business
> decision by IBM might reduce the number of porters immediately from 4
> to 0.

Right, since ppc64el machines are not desktop/personal machines, it is
harder to get porters, compared to more pervasive architectures, as amd64.
I hope to have more DD porters in the future, as ppc64el become more

lso, there are many other hardware manufactors and partners that relies
on Linux for the Power platform[1]. In my opinion, the Power platform is
bigger than IBM at this moment.

[1] http://openpowerfoundation.org/membership/current-members/

> Third, the skills of the committed porters for post-release work.
> It is extremely valuable when people are doing manual and automated
> testing and fix the usual porting issues prior to the release.
> But the most important skills required post-release until end-2020 are
> quite different.
> How many of the committed ppc64el porters are personally able to fix
> difficult issues that require intimate knowledge of hardware, kernel
> and toolchain?

I understand that it is going to be hard to find a developer that is
able to fix difficult issues on kernel/toolchain, we are relying and
supported by differents team doing Kernel, virtualization, toolchain,
optimization, etc.  On situations we are not skilled enough to work on,
we have these other teams support.

This is shown by the amount of package that was ported to ppc64el[2].
We, the Debian porters, didn't do it by ourself, but we counted on
different teams doing their work on each area, as from package
optimizations to toolchain enablement.

On the other side, if there is a requirements for being a porter that
says that the porter might be able to fix difficult issues on kernel and
toolchain, then it is a different story. I do not believe that this
requirement exists.

[2] https://buildd.debian.org/stats/

Also I assure you I have personal interest in Debian success

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