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Shadow package status update (was: Re: Please prepare for a request to hint shadow)

(this mail originates in recent mails in -release about the status of
the shadow package...I took this opportunity for making an update
about it. For people not aware of it, the shadow source package builds
the login and passwd binary packages we use on each and every default
Debian installation)

Followup to -devel only, please...I hope I did The Right Thing in
headers...I'm always confused with this stuff.

For people wondering about the status of shadow, this is a quite
complicated story:

-upstream development (Tomasz Kloczko) is now again quite
 active. Version 4.0.8 in preparation and, given the changes appearing
 in the CVS, probably not ready for be blindly incorporated in a Debian

-Debian package is "stucked" at 4.0.3 with numerous patches which
 never made it upstream, (especially to su). The listed package
 maintainers are Karl Ramm and Sam Hartman. Only (mostly l10n) NMU's
 from myself were made in the last 6 months.

-there are no release critical bugs in the BTS, but a lot of bugs
 which at least need some triage

-low maintenance of the Debian package. Karl Ramm is very discreet
 these times (indeed I didn't heard from him since July 2004). Sam
 Hartman is responsive to help requests, but, from his own words,
 cannot handle the package maintenance. Up to now, I was myself giving
 help with regards to l10n updates (induced by work around the
 installer localisation)....but more and more slipping to becoming the
 maintainer of that package

The package as is CAN be included in sarge. There is nothing
"critical" there...only a concern about the future of this package in

It's probably time for this package to be taken over (one could say
"hijacked" but people who know me are aware of my concerns about
respecting other people's work...which includes the work of Karl Ramm,
the current maintainer), especially when it comes at post-sarge
developments. For sarge, we can only focus on RC bugs and deal with
them by NMU's (I now consider those as implicitely made with
maintainer's agreement)

I an in the process of preparing a development area on alioth and am
waiting for it to be opened.

In the same time, I'm slowly working on isolating Debian patches to
the source code so that they can be examined along with upstream and
be included to it, or kept as specific patches. This required moving
the package to dpatch which is currenly not easy, given the number of
Debian-specific patches....

I will certainly call for help as soon as infrastructure is
ready. Shadow needs a small team maintenance, especially with people
able to understand the code (which I'm not, definitely). I definitely
CANNOT handle this alone.

So, if you feel concerned or think you can bring something, feel free
to react. I would prefer public discussions at this point,
though...even if they're lost in -devel "noise"....


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