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Re: What to do about negligent maintainers?

Le Sat, Jan 09, 2010 at 01:04:25AM +0100, Tollef Fog Heen a écrit :
> There was at least one person who helped out quite a bit with
> nfs-common, but got tired of co-maintaining as it was a continous uphill
> struggle where the maintainer quite often broke stuff and didn't
> coordinate.  Maybe he could have hijacked it and gotten away with it,
> but he didn't do that.  So while this approach might work in some cases,
> it's not a sure recipe for success.

I think that packages split in two cases, whether they provide a core
functionality or not.

For non-core packages, I think that the current adoption procedure is the way
to go (Def. Ref §5.9.5). Of course, the best outcome of the discussion could be
that the package gets team-maintained in a VCS where the previous maintainer
has access if he has a long-standing interest in the package (sometimes it is
also fun to do new things instead). In the case the package is a burden to
Debian because of its bugs but nobody else than the maintainer wants it to stay
in Debian, then its removal can be questionned in a wishlist bug, which can be
easily transferred as a request for removal to ftp.debian.org (with a summary)
if the reporter is confident enough. There were discussions on this topic
on the debian-qa list last December on how to make this workflow more efficient.

For more important packages, I think that the way their maintainer is decided
is sometimes completely suboptimal. I have seen a couple of times some core
maintainers orphaning a large number of such packages, which are then assigned
on a ‘first served’ basis within a hour! This is what it looks it happened for
nfs-common. I am not a fan of procedures, but for packages like nfs-common,
spending only one hour in ten years to select who will work on it is not wise.

If the TC does not mind this extra work load, I would find reasonnable that for
a given list of packages, the maintainer is decided by the TC. Normally, it
would simply mean to tacitly accept the consensus reached on
debian-devel@lists.debian.org, and in a few cases, it would need to take a
decision that make one person or a group of person unhappy. How to decide the
list of packages whose maintainer is chosen by the TC could be done on the
basis of the package priority. But anyway, the ‘first adopter served’ tradition
is a source of problems.

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Debian Med packaging team,
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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