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Re: Upstream maintainers are sleeping (Was: Reviving Debian QA

>>>>> "Stephane" == Stephane Bortzmeyer <bortzmeyer@debian.org> writes:

Stephane> On Monday 29 March 1999, at 1 h 17, the keyboard of Adam Di
Stephane> Carlo <aph@debian.org> wrote:

>> * check that patches that should be sent upstream are being sent
>> upstream -- I think this is very important and I think we have a
>> bit of a bad reputation on this count.

Stephane> Could you elaborate? After all, source packages are
Stephane> available for the upstream developers.

If you think this is an adequate way to get patches upstream, that is
very very very sad.

What else can I say?  I thought we were here to work with free
software, to make it better.  Most maintainers fulfull the promise and
actively work with upstream maintainers on bugs and patches.  To not
do this, with the excuse, "oh, well it's publicly available", is
weak.  Patches need to be selected out of the .diff.gz by the package
maintainer and sent to the upstream maintainer -- push it upstream,
don't rely on upstream to look downstream.

>> (d) Perhaps another cron job, implementing a public emailing to
>> debian-devel, listing the top 100 packages with huge debian diffs.

Stephane> This seems a poor metric.

Yes, it is rather poor, but its the best I could think of.

Stephane> One of the packages I maintain
Stephane> (ncbi-tools6-dev) has a documentation of 300 pages in
Stephane> MS-Word format. I translated it in ASCII and put in the
Stephane> source package. Does it qualify me as "not sending patches
Stephane> upstream"?

Stephane> Also, the upstream maintainers have a bad reputation, too
Stephane> :-) queso in Debian now has a lot of patches which are
Stephane> silently ignored by the upstream maintainer (64 bits
Stephane> support, for instance). We are actually forking.

You have to continue to try to get a response out of the upstream
maintainer.  Like I said, it's a culture thing.

Stephane> The
Stephane> maintainer of phylip, when I sent him the patches for glibc
Stephane> support, replied that he already had them in his private
Stephane> area for a long time but did not bother to make a new
Stephane> release :-( This sort of behaviour does not push me to send
Stephane> patches upstream anymore.

Letting a few bad experienced stop you from actually improving free
software is bad.

>> Start pushing harder for maintainers to try to work out fixes with
>> the upstream maintainers -- this is a cultural issue.  (Maybe even
>> a lintian warning if the debian diff has lots of patches not under
>> the debian subdir?)

Stephane> So, when an upstream maintainer no longer replies, I will be
Stephane> castigated?

No, but you should be castigated if you indeed have stopped sending
patches upstream, as you claimed above.  To me, this isn't
acceptable.  Sure, some of them may not respond; some may flame you.
You just have to keep trying, gently, diplomatically, pointing out the
problems and the fixes.  I'm not saying every day -- that would be
annoying.  Just every few months.

.....Adam Di Carlo....adam@onShore.com.....<URL:http://www.onShore.com/>

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