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Re: Are there problematic infrastructure or processes in Debian?


[ Your question is similar in some ways to a question asked earlier by
Lars Wirzenius.  See my answer at
https://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2013/03/msg00020.html ]

On 12/03/13 at 20:17 +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> Hi,
> this is a question to all candidates.
> Debian's infrastructure and processes have grown organically over the
> years, with all the strengths and weaknesses that it implies. Sometimes
> it's a good idea to step back and look whether some of those need
> to be amended/replaced/dropped/etc.


I think that the organic growth of Debian's infrastructure and processes
is a great strength of Debian. It's technically very easy to experiment
an idea by starting to develop a service, and get it linked from
important places such as the PTS so that everybody can benefit from it.
That's something we should encourage.

> Based on your own experience, which infrastructure(s) or process(es) would
> benefit from significant changes?

Before answering your question, I'd like to state that the situation has
generally improved greatly over the last years. There are still some
grey areas, but when I started contributing to Debian, there were entire
process that were sometimes stuck for months.

> Are there infrastructures or processes that we're (still) lacking and that
> could make a significant difference in the work of Debian's contributors?

I see two main areas of improvement:
- We should ensure that process that are regularly blocking contributors
  with no easy way to circumvent them work as smoothly as possible.
  If elected, I will closely monitor such processes to be proactive.
- We still lack some infrastructure to help with team maintenance. We have
  PET (http://pet.alioth.debian.org/), which is great, but many teams
  are not using it yet. It should probably be advertised/generalized
  a bit more.
  More generally, there's the problem of combining information found on
  all pieces of the Debian infrastructure. Quoting my platform:

     Debian services (dak, wanna-build, BTS, DEHS, popcon, lintian,
     etc.) are very much heterogeneous in terms of technologies and
     interfaces.  The positive impact is that it is very easy for anyone
     to develop another service and get it integrated into our existing
     infrastructure. The negative impact is that it is very hard to
     combine data. Ultimate Debian Database solves that by importing all
     relevant data about Debian (and derivative distributions) into a
     single SQL database. Several services have been developed on top of
     UDD (including bugs.cgi and Debian Maintainer Dashboard) and many
     others rely on UDD as a data source.

  (Note that unfortunately, UDD no longer contains data from PET about
   VCS -- that importer is broken since PET moved to alioth.)


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