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Re: What to do about negligent maintainers?

Charles Plessy <plessy@debian.org> writes:

> This package-centric point of view ensure that the RC bugs are fixed by
> either correction or removal. The punitive approaches like orphaning the
> package or expelling the maintainer are not fixing the bugs and
> therefore increase the entropy with no benefit, in my opinion.

> Given that for some (most?) of the packages maintained by Anìbal I have
> not seen attempts to takeover, I think that it is difficult to decide
> whether his maintainership is detrimental to the package, or in contrary
> better than nothing.

I mostly agree with this, but I think it discounts the fact that
maintainers frequently only step forward once a package has been orphaned
and shows up on wnpp-alert.  It's much easier to find someone to adopt a
package once it's been orphaned.  Few people want to go to the extra
effort of trying to convince an existing maintainer to give up a package
and risking a confrontational conversation.

So while it is quite possible in some cases that the existing maintainers,
who aren't doing that great, are better than the package going
unmaintained at all, orphaning the package *is* more effective on average
than just limping along with the existing maintainer due to the tendency
of orphaning to prompt new maintainers to step forward.

(For example, I have no time or energy to evaluate how good of a job
Anìbal is or is not doing with fping, but if it were orphaned, I would
probably adopt it, just as I'm likely to adopt tripwire if it goes for too
much longer with no one else stepping forward.)

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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