[aur-general] pkgstats and community - attempt 2

w9ya w9ya at qrparci.net
Tue Dec 2 17:33:59 EST 2008

(This should NOT require a reply, as it is merely some short observations.)

Hey Allan and those who are still bothering to read all the emails on this;

I decided to review some of the early emails leading up to your current
proposal to modify the 'community' repo and how it is used. And I found this
thread you forked and it seemed like a good idea to write you this personal
but public reply. I am quoting your email in it's entirety below. I am going
to ask you to do something at the end of this message, and I hope you have
the courage and foresight to read through this email twice. I will NOT be
mincing words, because quite frankly now is not the time to do so.

I am somewhat bemused, because while I do believe that you honestly wanted
some input on whether there was a bandwidth or server loading problem with
the way things were, and a discussion amongst the TUs about not only whether
this was an issue worthy of concern and subsequent modifications; It ALSO is
a discussion about the very nature of the TU system. We cannot, whether
anyone wants to ignore this notwithstanding, disconnect the effects, both
long term and unintentional from such sweeping changes.

You see this has come up before, in fact several times. And each time it has
been discussed openly and without getting personal. That is up until now. I
have gotten some really interesting reactions this time, some of it quite
nasty too. I have been put on the defensive for merely pointing out that
sometimes changing things without deep consideration is bad. I have been
told by some of your fellow devs to NOT comment on this proposal. All of
this has been a concern for me. I would hope such behavior and other
behavior wherein I have been called "regressive" for standing in the way of
this and other "fixes" should concern you too. None of it amounts to
anything other than untoward coercion. And sadly YOU are in the middle of it
as this is YOUR proposal. Whether you intend for this behavior to represent
you, it unfortunately has NOT been repudiated by you either.

But most importantly I can answer your concerns about server/system loading
this way; It is not a concern because the folks that are in charge of
maintaining such things say it is not a concern, and this just two days ago
in another email thread about 'what belongs in the community repo'. Further,
when things in the past have gotten overloaded, they have been fixed by more
direct means than what you are asking about. i.e. Servers are upgraded,
software is upgraded, connections and so forth are improved.

THE REAL QUESTION you are asking about is whether such a restriction and
fundamental change makes sense. And the answer is, once again as it has been
several times in the past years, NOT A NEW ITEM to vote upon. This question
comes up quite regularly for the TUs to vote upon. In the past year or so
Aaron G. was pointing out that the TUs should or might want to look at how
the devs do things as regards what is in the community repo during one of
these votes. And now he is saying so again. He has a list of changes he
would like to make.  *** But the WHOLE point of the TU system is to be
something that does NOT work as a "junior" or "auxillary" repo. It is NOT
SUPPOSE to work like other repos. Wanting it to be like the dev's work or
their repos is something we have ALWAYS rejected. i.e. THE VOTING (or

You see Allan, the TU system is an experiment that can be found NO WHERE
ELSE in computing I am aware of. NOWHERE else can a group of users be so
involved and with the freedom to contribute as we, (individually OR in
groups,) find it useful to do so. ONLY with this CURRENT system. We have
ALWAYS sought to create the most freedom herein so we could get the most
benefit. Quite frankly your proposal seeks to replace this with a system of
rules for inclusion and voting for exceptions and one TU seeking the
approval of other TUs before adding something and so forth. This is a
FUNDAMENTAL change in the way things are. And the is NO GOOD reason to do
so. You have been given several weeks to outline why, and you have yet to do
so. Some future resource problem is not a good enough reason. And yes we
HAVE discussed this very issue in past voting on other proposals.

To date the ONLY REAL problems the TU system is facing is that are that we
keep seeing these same proposals to "fix" problems that do NOT exist. AND
THAT IS NOT ALL THAT IS WRONG with your current proposal. It has brought out
the unfounded criticism of Sergei and myself ONCE again. And these matters
too have been decided in past voting, and since nothing has changed, should
remain decided. Why should I keep having to explain that I know of users of
the software I supply that cannot or will not use the voting system ? Why
should Sergei keep having to explain why he is doing things the way he is ?
Yes, he is now, once again being attacked for the way he is doing things.
And I do NOT find this kind of 'piling-on' behavior to be anything other
than repugnant. It points to the worst in our characters and allows
detractors of Archlinux ammunition for their jeers and asides.

I want you to consider that we ALSO have been seeing some rather elitist
behavior from those supporting your proposal too. It has been rather well
established that there is no way to know what even a vote of 0 represents,
let alone ANY number. Yet I have seen MANY messages talking about the
"useless glut" of programs in community, and that if someone does not vote
they do not "count" and what packages they use should not be "considered"
for what programs are "allowed" to be in the community repo". Well if you do
not know what people are using, how can ANYTHING be either "useless" or part
of a "glut". All of this should be a concern to you. IS this what you want ?
Are you so fed up with the way things are now that you are willing to be a
part of such a disreputable thing ?

Quite simply, are you willing to let Archlinux remove the ONLY unique thing
that separates it from other *nix distros. Are you willing to be a part of
turning the "community repo and the TU/Aur system" into something that only
a majority can decide what will be in it, when there is now space for all to
contribute ?

Anyone that wants to add a program to community now, whether they are a TU
OR a dev. OR a USER can do so. It has yet to be a problem. All ***ANYONE***
has to do is go through a one-time election process wherein NO_ONE has EVER
been turned down except for lying.

And we have never had to discipline a TU for *ANY* reason.

So I will leave you with this comment; Please do not seek to "fix" something
that is NOT BROKEN. It is a fool's errand, and you will not be able to
moderate or contain any unintended consequences from your actions any better
than you have been able to contain any of the poor behavior your proposal is
creating. Your message that I quoted below begins with your concern about
things getting out of hand. I hope you reconsider your proposal. Rescinding
it now would show real courage and understanding; Wisdom beyond your years,
so to speak.

Best regards;

Bob Finch

P.S... Yes I have made some tactical mistakes responding to some of the
nasty stuff directed at me in some threads as of late. Please do NOT let
this affect your contemplation on this proposal

On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 3:48 PM, Allan McRae <allan.mcrae at qimr.edu.au>wrote:

> This whole thing has got a bit out of hand...   All I wanted to do was
> organize a meeting for TUs to discuss the results of the pkgstats script.
>  And now I arrive back to ~70 email with back and forward about how things
> should be.  I am actually quite disappointed with some of the responses
> there.
> I'll put this out there first before I carry on with this email.  I am a
> dev. I am a TU.  I do not care about titles and my only aim here is to serve
> the Arch community better.  I am not taking a dev or TU point of view here
> at all.  I may not have been around as long as others but I know the history
> of the community repo and the AUR voting system.
> That being said, the pkgstats results point to a problem in the [community]
> repo.  I suggested we should discuss this on IRC at some stage.  ~70 emails
> later, that option seems to have been forgotten.
> So here is the issue:
> * There is no point taking up server space and bandwidth with packages that
> nobody or very, very few people use. *
> pkgstats points to a few hundred packages that fall into the not very used
> category in both [extra] and [community].  The devs are discussing what to
> with packages in [extra].  Note that does not necessarily mean those
> packages are automatically dropped to the AUR as that make no sense for some
> packages.  I.e. compromise is being made.  Please read that again.
>  Compromise...
> So we need to think about what the purpose of the [community] repo is.  It
> is obviously to supplement [core] and [extra].  Packages in [core] are the
> base of a system, packages in [extra] define Arch as a distro and are widely
> used by its users, packages in [community] do what?
> So lets start there.  What should the [community] repo be doing?  What is
> its purpose?   There is no point discussing anything else until that is well
> defined.
> All responses must start with "The [community] repo is ..."
> Allan
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