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Re: On cadence and collaboration

On 2009-08-06 16:25:47 +0200, Matthias Andree wrote:

[I'm Ubuntu developer (MOTU to be more specific), so I might be biased]

I certainly won't excuse some things that are not happening, I know that
Ubuntu needs to improve in some aspects. But realising this and get
things improved are still not the same. I just want to add some data
which hopefully explains why things are happening or not happening.

> 1. General communication with upstream maintainers, and consequences
> I recently - out of curiosity - looked at the launchpad.net Ubuntu bugs for
> packages I (co-)maintain upstream. Upstream here is "at the origin", not Debian
> packaging or something, list as above.
> Some were relevant and still current, and Ubuntu failed to either do something
> about the bugs (as in debug, write a patch) or at least tell people who were in
> a position to do something about the problem, concretely, forward the bug
> upstream. This is the very least you must do.
> Example: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/bogofilter/+bug/320829
> This had sufficient information to debug, and lay around for half a year.
> Nobody in Ubuntu bothered to look at the report, or to forward it to the upstreams.

I'm sorry about this but the amount of bugs flowing in into Ubuntu is
bigger that can be handled by the available man power, being it
developer or community members.
Bug #200000 was filed March 2008
Bug #300000 was filed Nov 2008
Bug #400000 was filed Jul 2009
This is around 100000 bugs per 9 months, or around 350 bugs per day.
While these might include also bugs filed only on projects using
Launchpad for bug tracking, the fast amount of them are filed on Ubuntu
While this is not really pleasant but it's happening that some bugs are
not looked upon for month (or even longer).

> Another observation is that Ubuntu bugs and bug changes are frequently forwarded
> to dozens of people, yet nobody cares to look. All you get is "me too" or
> dramatic narrations of how the bug ate somebody's dog. From maintainers, such as
> ubuntu core maintainers, for core packages: deafening silence.

When you mean the "Also notified" list: this list includes people
subscribed to bugmail for a package (none are subscribed for bogofilter)
and people subscribed to all bugmail. I don't know why so many people
subscribe to all bugmail as I certainly couldn't handle that volume.

> I'm happy to help distributions (without picking any particular, I don't care
> about your name, but about how you act), but I'm definitely not going to ferret
> up the downstream maintainers or "their" bugs. This was a one-time event.
> Some proposals for Ubuntu's part in this:
>   i.   if you can't deal with a bug, tell somebody who can. Leaving it to rot
>        is going to drive users away.

I know :( I was about to nearly stop filing bugs myself for this reason
(no one commented) before I got involved into Ubuntu and realized myself
that there is simply not enough manpower for everything.

>   ii.  make package owners explicit. Just assigning package responsibilities for
>        all packages to some opaque mailing list evidently does not work. The
>        list gets my upstream maintainer updates to the bug, yet nobody cares.

Unlike Debian, Ubuntu hasn't this one maintainer per package approach
(don't know about other distributions). In Ubuntu whole teams are
responsible for the components: core-dev for packages in "main" and MOTU
for packages in "universe" and "multiverse". Both approaches have there
pro and con.

For and a package being in "main" doesn't necessarily mean that it's
better maintained than packages in "universe" (on a best effort basis).
They might only be in "main" because they are needed by an other package
in "main" (sorry, don't know the reason for bogofilter being in main).

While Debian has over 1000 persons with upload rights, Ubuntu counts
only 135 persons with upload rights (from those only 56 can upload to
"main"). At the same time there are over 3000 source packages in "main"
and over 12000 source packages in "universe".
One can easily see that this won't work to get every package the amount
of care that it deserves. So in the end many packages are taken
unchanged from Debian.
Yet bugs don't stop getting filed in Ubuntu and need to be looked at and
acted accordingly.


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