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Re: Task: check packages not installed by anyone

On Thu, Dec 30, 2004 at 01:50:49AM +0100, Cl?ment Stenac wrote:
> What might be worth checking on these packages ? 
> - Are bugs handled ?
> - Package cleanness (lintian/linda + quick manual check if possible)
> - Is the maintainer MIA ?

This all relates to quality of the Debian package, in other words, how
well the maintainer is doing his job. There is a very high correllation
with the maintainer field here: if one package's bugs are handled badly,
chances are hight that's true of the other packages of this maintainer

I think it would be good if there is a bit more structural attention for
existing maintainers from QA. It shows some interest, which I notice is
quite appreciated mostly. Also, it might be a good way to give some
hints and tips to existing maintainers on stuff that might have slipped
their minds. A few QA people who would volunteer to do this would be
neat, I think.

Currently, this attention only goes to maintainers that have in some way
raised a bell regarding activeness, which is suboptimal -- it'd be
better if inactiveness was actually just prevented or at least looming
inactiveness detected in a very early stage, by just having more contact
with maintainers. Those maintainers that are no active posters/readers
of mailinglists and are not active on IRC either, don't necessarily have
any contact with their fellow DD's. Especially for those maintainers,
informing how they are doing, is useful and appreciated. This is useful
and nice for maintainers that ARE actively communicating via
mailinglists and irc, especially if they are having bad feedback once in
a while, it'd be nice to just have a chat about these issues and such.

This is something I'd like to setup, but keep postponing as mailing
maintainers that somehow trigger a 'might be not so very active'
heuristic is backlogged too. However, I guess that's always backlogged,
and so it is no excuse to not try to setup such an effort. OTOH, it's
quite a big thing to undertake, with the astonishingly many maintainers
out there. There might be better ways to achieve this goal, but they are
not easy.

> - Is upstream alive / is it still developed ?

While this is in fact also a maintainer task to monitor and to ponder
whether maybe this package should be dropped, it's quite understandable
for maintainers to not do so, they are quite likely (understandably) a
bit attached to their packages. Having per-package some yearly
questionaire with these and some other questions might be a good idea,
on the one hand, it shouldn't be prohibiting if one _maintains_ a
package to fill in a small questionaire about it too, every year. On the
other hand, can one force a maintainer to fill in such a questionaire?
Currently, I don't think so, although I'd be in favour of it. So, the
ones that are not filled in, should be looked at by volunteers then...
Which depending on the response might be a big task. Again, a
potentially big QA job, of which it is not completely sure the efforts
are worth the merits.


Jeroen van Wolffelaar
Jeroen@wolffelaar.nl (also for Jabber & MSN; ICQ: 33944357)

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