[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Self-assessment of the quality of the maintenance work

On Sat, Dec 20, 2008 at 06:19:26PM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> I would like to propose something new that would partially supersede
> the work done by the MIA team and that would also generate new
> information somehow related to the topic of WNPP.

Well, I like the principle (who having a feeling of QA problems in
Debian wouldn't?) but I don't think the mechanism you are proposing
would work at all.

- the first time you'll ask people to fill the forms the mechanism
  will suck up a lot of time to everybody. As the benefits for the
  filler are not clear (at least not yet) they wouldn't be motivated
  to spend the required time

- the "fear" of getting bothered/pinged periodically via mail is
  something which is real among maintainers (remember all the fuss
  about DDPO via email? I think the fuss was inappropriate, but still
  it was there). This is another ingredient which will contribute "bad
  marketing" to such an initiative.

Unfortunately, I have the feeling that your proposal will work
properly only if an amount of people close to everybody will take part
in it, otherwise it won't be that useful, because most likely only the
active people will take part in it.

Alternative proposal

If the goal is cleaning up the maintainer/uploaders field I've an
alternative proposal which is, IMO of course, more likely to work
properly and do not require active work from the single maintainer. It
boils down to automatically filling the Uploaders field on the basis
of debian/changelog. (The idea is shamelessly copied from the GNOME

That would be an inherent, always up to date wrt contributions measure
of who worked on a given package recently. The outcome wouldn't be as
fine-grained as yours (passive / backup / ...), but it would be

What it would be needed (warning: braindump ahead) is:

- implementing it in some low-level tool, because we can't rely on
  CDBS class, it should (if agreed upon via something like a DEP) be
  fully automatica

- decide the thresholds for being listed in Uploaders

Orthogonal problems

After writing the above, I realized there are two orthogonal
problems. One is cleaning up Uploaders, which I believe would be
addressed by the above approach.

The other is identifying de facto orphaned packages. For that you can
indeed ping, but it can be way easier than what you propose. Just send
an email (with no web link whatsover), at most once per year, and only
mentioning packages which have not been touched by the maintainer for
more than 1 year. The reply can be formatted enabling the maintainer
to mention which packages she still maintains.

No reply = orphaned package.

Actually, your proposal mentions MIA, I don't get why. A maintainer
can have de facto orphaned some packages and still be active on


Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Dietro un grande uomo c'è ..|  .  |. Et ne m'en veux pas si je te tutoie
sempre uno zaino ...........| ..: |.... Je dis tu à tous ceux que j'aime

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: