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Re: Problems with NM Front Desk


I have to reply briefly, I hope that you can infer the rest of the story 
from the replies or pointers.

On Friday 02 July 2010 20:56:41 Russ Allbery wrote:
> > and while creating new packages for newer versions of Aqsis [2] and K3D
> > [3] before the freeze, which they were neglected by their maintainer
> > for 3 years [4],
> What's going on with the status of these packages?  Maintaining them via
> NMUs isn't something that we should be doing in Debian in the long run.
> If the current maintainer isn't interested or doesn't have time to
> maintain them, they should really be orphaned.  Have you (or someone)
> already been in touch with MIA about that?  K3D in particular appears to
> have been maintained solely by NMU for nearly three years.

a) Re: what's going on, I explained it in [4]

b) Re: NMU in the long run: true, I was looking forward to maintain them 
once I became official DD (or DM).  See in example Loic Dachary's advocation 
message for DM (he sent a similar one when I applied to DD a couple of weeks 
ago, when all this started):

c) Re: the MIA stuff: he is not MIA, he does some work to some of his 
packages, you can see it in the PTS; but didn't do any work on these ones 
for 3 years, nor replied to offerings of help, bug requests telling to 
orphan them, etc.  And I'm no DD to start inquiring DDs and bothering people 
with MIA stuff, I think.  BTW, He just replied to a bug report after I we 
updated the K3D package.

d) "K3D in particular appears to have been maintained solely by NMU for 
nearly three years." -- yes, that's the main issue which nobody addressed 
until now.

> > after all of this, I decided to apply for Debian Developer, which I
> > judged appropriate in the case that any conflict arose with the
> > maintainer for the ownership of the package.
> I have to say that's a disturbing reason to apply to be a Debian
> Developer.  I'd like you (and anyone else who is interested) to apply to
> become a Debian Developer because you want to work on Debian and have
> direct upload rights, but not as a way of helping with conflicts with
> other package maintainers.  Being a DD or not should not, at least in my
> opinion, make any difference in such a conflict.  If the maintainer isn't
> maintaining the package, it should be orphaned or put up for adoption,
> regardless of whether the person who wants to take it over is a DD, a DM,
> or has no formal affiliation with the project at all.

Let's say that it was the excuse to force me to apply to become a DD, to 
become the *official* maintainer of K3D and Aqsis; instead of co-maintaining 
OSG unofficially and safe of bureaucracy and troubles as I've been doing in 
the past months (because Loic Dachary does the uploads when me or the other 
co-maintainer create the versions).

> > One of the questions was (*):
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > 
> >> Are you a 'Debian Maintainer' as described on
> >> http://wiki.debian.org/Maintainers or do you plan to become a DM?
> > 
> > a) No
> > b) Not specially, my main intention is to become Debian Developer.  DM
> > doesn't allow to do what I'm doing with Aqsis and K3D when the official
> > maintainer doesn't cooperate, that's one of the main reasons why I want
> > to become DD instead of just DM (so I don't have to bother any sponsor,
> > etc).
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> I suspect that this is setting off the same warning flags for Front Desk
> that it would for me, but it may just be a problem with wording.  Being a
> DD also doesn't give you any special privileges to take over packages
> from other maintainers, although it does make it easier to upload
> packages (including NMUs) because you don't need a sponsor.  But the
> process for handling a maintainer who appears to be neglecting their
> packages is the same regardless of whether you're a DD or a DM, and in
> either case means involving other people who can help query what's going
> on with the current maintainer.
> I'm not saying that you've done anything wrong by also preparing NMUs for
> neglected packages.  Indeed, it's great for Debian to get updated
> packages.  But from the overall Debian project perspective, it's
> important to get the maintenance situation resolved in some ongoing way,
> not to just patch around it with NMUs.

As I explained above and many times to Front Desk etc (more clearly stating 
it in other places than in this reply), it was the thing that pushed me to 
apply for DD: to maintain these packages in the long term.

> > 1) First reply from Christoph Berg
> > ----------------------------------
> > 
> > The first and main paragraph of what Christoph replied after I sent
> > this questionnaire was:
> > 
> > "We welcome you very much to NMU unattended packages. However, your
> > involvement there is still very recent, so we would prefer very much if
> > you applied for DM first and then gained more experience there before
> > you apply for NM. ("DM before NM" is a rule we have been inofficially
> > enforcing for some time now and which will be officialised soon.)"
> This seems to me like a fairly reasonable response to someone who doesn't
> have a long track record.  This of course may well not apply to you (as I
> say, I haven't looked in any depth), but it's not uncommon for people tho
> have a surge of interest in a particular set of packages but then
> disappear shortly afterwards.  Part of the New Maintainer process is
> vetting people for being long-term members of the Debian community; it's
> not solely a technical competency hurdle for allowing people to upload
> packages.  The latter is much more like what the DM status is for.
> I suspect Christoph was wondering whether those packages should be put up
> for adoption so that you could adopt them as a DM and maintain them for a
> while.

Then maybe Christoph should explain this more clearly, and him or other 
Developers be interested and check for things like this.  In fact one did 
and was a Debian Developer who put a "update or orphan it" bug report.

Chistoph said, paraphrasing: "Thanks for all the fish, but no cigar".

Apart from the fact that he ignores in that reply the co-maintainance of 
OSG, with the agreement of Loic Dachary, which is the biggest accomplishment 
that I pointed out: more than 6 months, several uploads, continous 
collaboration.  The Aqsis & K3D stuff were in the works and more promises 
than reality (until a couple of days ago), but the other is not.

> > 2.a) About technical merits
> > 
> > I replied telling that I didn't just NMU a couple of packages well
> > attended, I was in effect intending to ***become the maintainer from
> > now on*** of *quite complex* packages (all of them much bigger in size
> > and dependencies, and unfortunately legal problems etc, than the vast
> > majority of packages in Debian), and they were *completely unattended
> > for years* (so I had to start from scratch, it was more like creating
> > new packages than just NMUing a well maintained package not updated
> > for two or three minor revisions); and most importantly that I was
> > co-maintaining OpenSceneGraph for half a year etc, what I already
> > explained above.
> The concern that the project has here is that you haven't, at least so
> far, taken over maintenance of the package in a formal way, and we'd
> really like to see that happen.  Have you already started the process to
> see what's happening with the maintainer and whether the packages should
> be orphaned?  To me, that should be the next step before you become the
> official maintainer of those packages, regardless of your status in
> Debian.

Explained above.

> > "And I'm not at all against him being approved, ***in fact I think that
> > he more than worths it***.  It's just that I feel that [just because
> > I'm no official DM yet] you don't even want to consider me, instead of
> > looking at the real merits, technical skills, teamwork, free software
> > advocacy, etc."
> Given what was written to this point, this does seem like a bit of an
> overreaction to me.  I don't know if there was other communication or
> other subtext in what you heard, but Christoph wasn't saying he didn't
> even want to consider you, but rather that being a DM first is a good
> part of that process of considering you.  It lets you do work on Debian
> in a somewhat more official way on packages where you're listed as the
> co-maintainer (which presumably will include OpenSceneGraph in the near
> future?).

That might be the point of disagreement.

I don't think that filling in a questionnaire telling "I promise to respect 
DSFG and the policy for Debian Machines Acceptable Usage" etc, proves 
anything else than my previous co-maintainance of OSG, and the decision to 
apply for DD is about the same as the statement of DM above.

Given two people working on package GIMP, with 6 months or 1 year of 
collaborations each and similar work done (e.g. they're technically about 
the same good), one being DM and another not and they both decide to apply 
for DD the same day; on which grounds do you deny the one which is not a DM 
to apply for DD?

> > Also, http://www.debian.org/devel/join/newmaint says:
> > 
> > "The first important point to make is that you do not need to be an
> > official Debian Developer in order to help improving Debian. In fact,
> > ***you should already have a track record of earlier contributions***
> > to Debian before you apply for the New Maintainer process. It is
> > ***highly recommended*** that you become familiar with the role of
> > Debian Maintainer and apply for this role before applying to become a
> > Debian Developer."
> > 
> > So if it's unofficial and not documented (just recommended, and I meet
> > the "earlier contributions" thing, even if it's debatable if they
> > amount to enough), you shouldn't forbid me to apply for that reason.
> Maybe there's some language confusion here?  This is as official and
> documented as it gets for our New Maintainer process.  "Highly
> recommended" generally means that this is something you need to do unless
> you have some situation that justifies not following that path (such as,
> for instance, wanting to become a Debian Developer to work on things
> other than packaging).
> It looks, from your message, that from this point forward the
> conversation escalated in unfortunate ways, partly due to
> misunderstandings and partly due to uncharitable readings of what other
> people were saying.  I wish that had not happened.

Highly recommended is highly recommended, not mandatory.  It's highly 
recomended that you tie your shoes, but it's mandatory that you bring your 
passport to the airport if you expect to get on board.

But the broader context, "highly recommended that you become familiar with 
the role of Debian Maintainer" I had already done, save for sending my 
jetring chanset uploading packages, I did the same with OpenSceneGraph that 
I would have done if I had been DM since the beginning: close bugs, forward 
upstream, discuss stuff with co-maintainers, modify the number of packages 
being built, the lot.

Also, Christoph Berg and the rest of the Front Desk understand it like me, 
since they apply the "unofficial policy" of requiring DM, he said that very 
clearly.  If they had understand it like you, it would not be unnofficial 
policy, it would be official.

I also don't see your comments about Joerg Jaspert's mocking me in such a 
clear way (he obviously is not foolish enough to think that anybody can 
write something like OSG, or anything with half a million lines of code and 
several languages, in 6 months), or the accusations of being me finger-
pointing applicants.

The first thing that a Front Desk person has to do is to investigate, try to 
understand what the people is saying (applicants are not [always] familiar 
with Debian's inner ways of working), and more important, read it twice or 
ask if you don't understand what the applicant is saying, not mocking them.

I'd like also people to give his opinion about why they think that some 
people can apply to DD by packaging a simple application of a few KLoC and 
almost no dependencies and clear license, and waiting 5 months; while others 
don't when we accomplish much more technically difficult tasks.

> > Final result
> > ============
> > 
> > This morning without further notice since that final mail (***not even
> > an automatic mail from NM application webpage***), I found this mail
> > from Christoph on debian-main@ mailing list:
> > http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint/2010/07/msg00003.html
> > 
> > I also found that he (or somebody else) removed my application
> > altogether from the DB, I'm not even considered rejected for any
> > particular reason:
> > https://nm.debian.org/nmstatus.php?email=manuel.montezelo%40gmail.com
> > 
> > And I'm not on any of the list, not even as rejected, on hold or
> > anything: https://nm.debian.org/nmlist.php
> I haven't looked at what your previous status is and have no idea why the
> database would be in this state.  I found that confusing as well when I
> was trying to look at the status of your application, but I'd want to
> know what happened from the Front Desk perspective before reaching any
> conclusions there.  It may, so far as I know, for applicants without
> prior demonstrated work to be removed from the database in that fashion;
> the New Maintainer system has undergone an overhaul since I went through
> the process.

My previous status was "waiting for AM assignment" or something like that, 
with comments like: "DM? no".  I applied to DM now, so that could justify to 
put me on hold for a few weeks, but not remove my application altogether on 
the basis of false accusations and excuses of "he called me silly", taking 
it out of context.  The process takes many months, I would've gained more 
experience either way, being official DM or not.

Removing me without notice is plain gross, either way, especially after I 
decided to follow the (for me, ineffective) requirement of DM and had 
applied for it the day before.

Maybe they can reply why they did it, why they felt so offended for simple 
word after mockering me, and why they accusate me of things that are plainly 

> If you want to continue forward with your Debian work, and I certainly
> hope you will, I think the best step forward for you would be to follow
> the normal procedure for investigating whether these packages should be
> orphaned, fixing the maintainer record for OpenSceneGraph so that it's
> clear that you're a co-maintainer if you are, adopting the other packages
> you're interested in or joining a maintainer team for them, and applying
> for DM status so that you can upload those three packages more easily.

I planned to do all this (except the MIA procedure, which is a bit muddy and 
unclear to me, and the developer is not really MIA), and planned to put 
myself on those fields (Maintainer, Uploader, whatever) when I was a real DD 
or a real DM, not when I'm doing it unofficially.

I can't edit the changelog and upload OSG files without Loic's approval, and 
he advocated me twice (one for DD, another for DM, *signed emails*).  The 
control fields might be wrong, but the way to check whether I did that job 
or not is very clear...

> With demonstrated competence in maintaining large, complex packages for
> some period of time and several uploads, I believe that would be taken as
> compelling evidence that you're technically ready to be a Debian
> Developer if you moved forward with your application a while after
> taking those steps.

That's what I hoped, but seeing Christoph's and Joerg's reactions and 
manipulation of my words and mockering, I don't trust their judgement, and I 
don't want to be Debian Developer anymore if nobody does any more serious 
investigation into this and clears things up.


PS: And now I go off for the weekend!
Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo <manuel.montezelo@gmail.com>

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