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Re: Question for all candidates: squeeze freeze [ Was: Release process ]

[ Please: can people that follow-up with different questions change the
  subject accordingly? I believe it would make easier to read the
  question archive afterwords. ]

On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 08:09:19AM +0100, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> During the last debconf, the freeze of squeeze was first announced to
> take place in December, then this decision was cancelled, and now we are
> in March.
> - How do you analyze what happened during last summer? What went wrong?

(I don't read minds and I'll just report the impression I got of the
 event as a DD which has assisted to the talk which created "the case"
 and which, quite normally, thought about it later on.)

I think that the event has been a terribly unfortunate coincidence of
bad wording by the release manager and of good will on the side of the
press team to anticipate how "the media" would have reported the news. I
think Luk meant to propose time-based freeze to the project, but got
eventually caught in some frenzy of writing it down properly for the
media. A honest, yet unfortunate, mistake.  Again, this is just my
personal feeling, and I have never asked any of the directly involved
people about more details.

> - What is your opinion on the motivations for the proposal to freeze in
>   December? Specifically, in the future, should we try to coordinate our
>   release process with Ubuntu's?

IIRC in the talk the release team discussed how they were approached by
Ubuntu people about the possibility of doing a coordinated Squeeze/LTS
freeze, to ensure that some core sets of packages were in sync. That
would have been given the benefit of coordinating stuff like security
fixes, important bug fixes targeted at point release, etc. Back then, it
seemed that the only way to have such a guarantee were to freeze at the
same time, and "therefore" in December.

In general, I'm fine with the idea of coordinating specific releases
together with derivative distributions, when both distros will benefit
from the coordination. (On a smaller scale, it has already occurred in
the OCaml team to coordinate the "stability" of all our source packages
with Ubuntu freezes.) What I don't like is the above
"therefore". Coordination has to go in both ways, if we want to sync
*among* Debian and Ubuntu, we should sit together around a table to
decide *when* we freeze; it is not that, since Ubuntu releases every 6
months, we should adapt our release cycle accordingly.

If we *can* do that, fine, we will balance pro/cons and decide
accordingly. In fact, if we manage to ignore for a bit the unfortunate
communication incident, the release team had later on contacted the
teams of core set of packages in Debian and, on the basis of their
feedback, decided not to freeze in December. Having only the second part
without the first would have obviously been better, but we are humans
and sh*t happens.

> - So, we are now in March. What is your opinion with the release process
>   so far? When do you see the release happening?

As a simple DD, I would be happy to freeze by the end of March / early
April and, a bit naively maybe, I would be satisfied about the release
process thus far if that will happen. I don't have any direct experience
in the release team though, so I'll fully trust the team decision if
they will eventually decide to postpone the freeze: they probably see
complications that I can't see (such as the actual burden that will be
induced by the management of unblock requests).

All the above opinions on the release process are expressed as a simple
DD. If I get elected DPL, and since I agree that similar questions will
be most likely posed in interviews & co, I'll coordinate with the
release team a set of answers that best represent their views.


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

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