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Re: How to volunteer for something on debian's todo list?

[Almut Behrens]
> To be able to take a closer look, it seems I need to use "noweb" to
> retrieve the actual code (there is no regular source in the package).
> Never come across this before. At first glance it roughly looks like
> what I've heard about D. Knuth's Literate Programming -- some mixture
> of source, docs and makefile...  (little Almut is slowly beginning to
> understand why this is rated "***"... <g>)

Yes, noweb is inspired by Knuth's WEB, and I think they are both silly.
But what do I know?  Anyway, I don't know if you got the Debian source
package (apt-get source ifupdown) or just the upstream source - the
Debian source includes the generated .c files etc.

In order to use 'apt-get source' you have to have 'deb-src' lines in
your /etc/apt/sources.list file.  These are identical to 'deb' lines so
just copy and paste your 'deb' lines but change the first word from
'deb' to 'deb-src'.  Then of course run 'apt-get update'.

Of course, to hack on the code, as opposed to just reading it, I guess
you still have to install and use nowebm, since you'll be hacking on
ifupdown.nw rather than on the C files.

> Anyway, before I take the trouble to install noweb,

Well, that step should be trivial:  "apt-get build-dep ifupdown".  As
with "apt-get source", this requires you to have "deb-src" lines in
your sources.list file.

> just to then be told that "I'll have to go through the NM process
> like everyone else.."  before I can actually start doing that kinda
> thing at all, I thought I'd ask first.

Oh, no.  You don't need to be in NM to hack on source code or do
packaging work, either one.  Your first step should be to check
http://bugs.debian.org/ifupdown to see if there are any open bugs on
this subject.

I checked it and it seems there are not - while 'ifstate' seems to be a
source of a few other bugs, it's not considered a bug itself.  So then,
the next thing to do is to email the developer and anyone else
interested in ifupdown - a convenient way to do this is to address
<ifupdown@packages.qa.debian.org>.  Explain that you saw the TODO list
item and ask if there is anyone already doing this that you should
coordinate with.

> * do I have to be a DD to grab something from the todo list rated as
> "***" (i.e. "advanced skills required" -- I'm not even a "**" == "New
> Debian Developer"!)

There is no formal process for this TODO list.  It's mainly just
informative.  Since this item is confined to a single package,
ifupdown, it should be enough to just coordinate with the maintainers
of that package.  Most developers should not care at all whether the
person doing the work is a developer or not.

> * what would be the appropriate list to post further questions to?
> (-devel? -- for the moment leaving aside any of my worries about
> being taken seriously there, as a totally unknown debian newbie...)

debian-mentors is a good list for general questions about debian

> * any good recipes on how to handle "giving up"?  You know, I wouldn't
> want to say I'd give it a try, and then retract, afer having taken a
> closer look

I know the feeling.  Just explain to <ifupdown@packages.qa.debian.org>
that you are interested in looking into this, and that you'd like
whatever information about it anyone can provide.  You don't need to
make any commitment to actually *doing* the work.  As you hack on this,
you can make status reports to that same address - or just keep your
mouth shut until you have finished, if you prefer.

> * BTW, has anybody here ever used noweb and would like to share their
> experiences?  (A one-minute googling right away turned up doubtful
> questions like "are people actually still using it?". And that was
> posted to some forum in 1997 :)

Heh - that's exactly what I though when I read your mail: "huh?
ifupdown still uses noweb?  I didn't think anyone still used that."


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