[arch-dev-public] Which Way Forward For Package Maintainance [was: next major steps have to be planned]

Aaron Griffin aaronmgriffin at gmail.com
Fri Sep 21 15:06:25 EDT 2007


Essien had some points to say on this topic, so I figured it was a
good time to break this point out into a separate thread too.

Here goes:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Essien Ita Essien <me at essienitaessien.com>

You know, we really need to have properly defined seperate dev teams,
this main is going to focus on just one of them teams, but in a later
mail i'll elaborate my ideas further.

Paul Mattal wrote:
>> <snip>

>> 3) This has historically be a problem forever - unmaintained packages.
>> Some of us do a lot of development work (Dan, Eliott, etc) and don't
>> have huge amounts of time to help out with 200 packages at once. But
>> we do need a way to stabilize this load a little better.
>> Andy, you seem to know our current package set better than anyone.
>> Could you possibly keep on bringing this up to people - in an attempt
>> to push the load around just a little bit.
>> By this, I mean, if we have a person with 10 packages (not people
>> doing heavy development work) and others with 300, we should do
>> something about that - you seem the best person for this job.
> I remain convinced that the way to tackle this problem is to allow
> more than one maintainer per package. If groups of people are
> responsible for a package, people will feel more empowered to work
> on packages that aren't "theirs" and will know who to coordinate
> with to do so.

I agree with Paul here, but I even go futher and *formalize* the problem

The problem like I see it is that you *need* to be an
*archlinux-developer* to be allowed to maintain packages in core and extra.

I guess this is just to guarantee quality of packages but i think there
are other ways of guaranteeing package quality and at the same time
allowing the current strict definition of arch developers to be the only
ones responsible for package maintainance.

I want to propose the following approach.

1. The package management team should be properly defined out of the
rest of the *blessed* archlinux development team.

2. Every member of this team will be a package Maintainer (even if you
maintain just one package, you are a maintainer). But not every member
of this team will be able to *commit* to the official repositories.

3. There will be some members of the team called _sponsors_ who will be
the only ppl able to commit to the actual repositories and will also act
as the QA guards to ensure proper quality of packages.

4. The other maintainers will have to go thru the sponsors to get their
packages accepted or updated, and a sponsor can decide to desponsor a
package for various reasons (like inactive maintainance by a maintainer
or a maintainers non-response to bug reports).

The thing is we already have this kind of setup:- namely the
community/aur system.

I think we _need_ to admit to ourselves that the communit/aur repo works
properly, but we need to somehow co-opt that system now that our
workload is growing.

I propose that:

1. first... all *orphaned packages* from extra, core, community, aur,
etc, should be moved into an [unmaintained] repository and just be done
with it.

2. Then we should extend official status to community. (adding it to
pacman repo files)

3. Then we should slowly start setting up the sponsor/maintainer
infrastructure, with all TUs automatically becoming sponsors in the new
dispensation along with current developers who want to continue with
package maintainance tasks as opposed to other development tasks (ISO
building, etc).

4. The new sponsors should go around and for packages that list them as
Maintainers but have seperate Contributors, invite those contributors to
become Maintainers.

5. Draw up guidelines for the operation of the sponsor/maintainer
relationship. I'll be willing to help in any documentation that will be
needed if this is to be done.

6. Encourage ppl that are maintaining packages on AUR to apply for
package sponsorship for their packages and let the rest happen from there.

> I know I personally would sign up as a maintainer for more packages
> if I weren't the "only one" taking them on but rather part of a team
> maintaining those packages.

I think the system i describe above is more efficient than staying tied
to just a small team doing all the work.


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