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Re: Idea for maintaining packages up for adoption

Le Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 05:54:51PM +0200, Frank Lichtenheld:
> But this doesn't depend on the availability of a VCS but on the
> availability of people to upload the package. Perhaps during
> creating the former you find the latter ones. But that's about
> marketing, not about technical solutions, IMO.

You misunderstood me. I don't mind about the technical solution. My only
interest was to find a solution to help mintaining orphaned packages,
and the one I suggested is, by a way or another, to allow external
contributions, and to allow those to be uploaded *automaticaly* since
there is nobody to do it.

> To be clear, I'm not against organising the maintainance of orphaned
> packages better, but I have two issues here:
> 1) Often it might be better for the overall quality of Debian to swiftly
> remove an orphaned package instead of spending time trying to fix it.

And doing it to create troubles on the backward compatibility, to
prevent people from upgrading one release to the other because this or
that software might have disapeared?

By the way, as a user of Debian, I do prefere to have a working package
(even not maintained by a real Debian developper) than no package at

The example of what is happening to dvidvi seems interesting to me: the
program is working but buggy (like any program I know). People do
provide patches. Some other packages are using it. Some people too. But
because some Debian people think that dvidvi can be replaced by psnup or
so, they are trying to remove it.

That sounds crazy, for at least those reasons:
- the package is working, even if not maintained
- in the people discussing the point, my guess is that nobody does use
  this package, or understand what it does, or what it is supposed to

> 2) I still fear that people will try to maintain a package this way
> with the option in case of a problem to say "no, I'm not the maintainer,
> see, it's orphaned"

Yes, that is a possibility. Is that really different from what happen
with real maintainers nowadays? When I sent my bugreport on dvidvi,
there was (officialy) a maintainer, and open bugs for years. Sure he did
not claim "I'm not the maintainer" when I sent my bug report. I just did
nothing, not even that. I see no difference. Volunteer people might
accept to do the job, or might not.

> Still, I would really regret to scare someone away from contributing
> by my arguments about this. I just try to make sure you clearly have
> thought this through before investing a lot of work into this that
> might be better spend elsewhere...

I spent no time on nothing into that. Just discussing with Raphael a
point which is that the way the "not maintained" packages are handled is
not satisfactory.

If you think it is satisfactory, then, well, perhaps there is nothing to
change and I'm wrong on that. But if you think it have to be improved,
my proposition is just to accept more-or-less automaticaly the
contributions from the outside, and to try to encourage those

For that, the best way to provide a contribution is probably a patch.
And the best way to keep track of patches and to merge them together is
probably a VCS. But that is a technical detail.



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