[aur-general] Deletion of orphaned packages on AUR4

Lukas Fleischer lfleischer at archlinux.org
Wed Aug 12 09:05:08 UTC 2015

On Wed, 12 Aug 2015 at 05:49:58, Doug Newgard wrote:
> [...]
> You're making one massive and incorrect assumption: that packages that don't
> have an official "Maintainer" listed are broken. But you have no idea why
> they're orphaned.
> In my case, I have some that I'm actively trying to get maintainers for; in the
> mean time, I'm looking after them even though they are listed as being
> orphaned. Is this not to be allowed now? Should all "orphan" packages in
> the official repos be deleted, just assume nobody is looking after them? I
> updated one package just a few days before it was randomly deleted. There's
> other stories further up in this thread about them being deleted after only a
> few hours, all with no notice.

I consider this a slight abuse of the orphan/disown functionality.
Wikipedia defines orphan as

    [...] a child whose parents are dead or have abandoned them

In my opinion, orphan packages should be defined analogously: Packages
which have been abandoned permanently by their former maintainers. I
didn't know that some people used package disowning the way you
described it. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

Even if we disregard the etymology of the word, I still do not think
that "disown but keep maintaining" is a good idea. It makes it quite
hard to distinguish between "real" orphans and "maintained" orphans.
Also, the maintainer information is the first point of contact when
issues with the package arise. Hiding it like that doesn't seem like a
good idea. So maybe we need to improve the way changing maintainership
works. Having a "Give up for adoption" button (that keeps the current
maintainer while allowing anybody to adopt the package) in addition to
"Disown" is one possibility. I am open to other suggestions.

Maybe you could at least add yourself as a co-maintainer for now. Or if
you are really *actively* trying to find new maintainers, it probably
wouldn't hurt if you were listed as a maintainer until you find

By the way: Yes, "orphan" packages in the official repositories are
deleted from time to time. We have so-called Midyear Cleanups and
Christmas Cleanup where exactly that is done (although I think we didn't
have them for a while for some reason)...


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