[aur-general] Deletion of orphaned packages on AUR4

Doug Newgard scimmia at archlinux.info
Wed Aug 12 14:03:06 UTC 2015

On Wed, 12 Aug 2015 11:05:08 +0200
Lukas Fleischer <lfleischer at archlinux.org> wrote:
> 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
>     permanently.
> 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.

If you want to keep to your orphan analogy, think of this more as being a
foster parent or running a orphanage.

> 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.

This could work, but only if AUR helpers support it. I would image this is a
very common mechanism for people to find out that a package they use is an
orphan and adopt it.

> 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
> somebody.

Many of the packages I orphaned while searching for a maintainer were picked up
by someone I never had contact with. I have only been successful in my active
search in a few cases, even though I had a couple of people express interest in
picking them up before I orphaned them :(. As others have said, orphaning is
currently the best way to find a new maintainer.

> 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)...

Sure it does happen, but they are not deleted after a few weeks as a matter of
course. My point is simply that assuming an orphan is broken and useless is
premature, same as orphans in the binary repos.


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