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    Suggestions for Improving Packaging Efficiency?
    Submitted by hackel on Saturday, April 20, 2002 – 23:19
    In light of the rather nasty debate in the KDE story below, I thought it would be a good idea to solicit suggestions for a solution to the issue of large packaging projects getting hung up on one person’s limited availability and/or abilities. Both sides present a valid case — developers volunteering their time do not deserve to be put down for their mistakes or a lack of time, yet if they are unable to do a job, especially when others are willing and able to do it, then those people should be given that chance. What do you think is a good solution to this problem?
    By the way, I’m not a Debian developer, just an avid user who knows what it’s like when many people are in need of my time. The idea that seems most natural to me is to setup some official CVS servers for the development of large packages, and ensure that no one person ever has ultimate control over the archive, kind of a Debian-centric Sourceforge. But again, I’ve not been there, so I’m more interested in what you all think. Please be friendly and give constructive comments. 🙂

    Robot101: People interested in seeing Openoffice in Debian have done just that, and have recently announced that they were using a CVS archive to co-ordinate their work. I expect we’ll see more of this kind of thing for large packages such as this. Even though it may not be obvious, many large packages such as X, glibc, dpkg, apache2 and gcc do already recieve significant help from groups of regular contributors, and anyone can help with any package by posting a patch to the BTS.

    However it will be much harder to disperse the idea that developers have ‘ultimate control’ over their packages – whether this is a good thing or not. Theoretically the technical comittee can override them if they reach consensus, but it never has and currently has difficulty responding to issues raised, let alone reaching a consensus.

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    Subject: What’s the hurry
    Author: elcrago
    Date: Sunday, 2002/04/21 – 01:02
    Is the delay so incredibly long that it’s really a problem, or are people spoiled?

    For all the packages I care about the packaging lag is a few months or less. I haven’t seen a convincing argument as to why this is a problem.

    Whoever those complainers are out there, I suggest they either build their own distro, help out with patches, or STFU.

    [ return ]


    Subject: Re: What’s the hurry
    Author: Anonymous
    Date: Sunday, 2002/04/21 – 14:14
    Forum maintainers: please correct the spelling of “insightful” (it appears with no t).

    As to the “why can’t we wait, why are we so impatient” vs. “we deserve the latest packages” question, it’s a flamewar that will go on and on, because we’re not perfect. The maintainers aren’t perfect. All we can do is try to address the issues in some way, and it seems that there will be some serious consideration of this issue once (if) woody releases.

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    Subject: Re: What’s the hurry
    Author: Anonymous
    Date: Sunday, 2002/04/21 – 09:33
    Look, the Debian project is a community project, for it’s community of users. The distro is updated and released for… the community.

    So if the community wants a faster release schedule, or whatever it maybe the project is obligated to listen and incorperate those changes. Because if Debian isn’t done for it’s users, then it should close down the public apt servers.

    Please don’t tell me to start my own distro. Thats the most unreasonable thing I have ever heard. I’m sure everyone is capable of that, and even the people who are would want to do that.

    I encourage you to look at your defense mechanism of completely shutting off to debate. It’s ok to have different opinions and be critical, really it is. You don’t need to get caught up in the game of defending your self out of an emotional reaction because you are obviously insecure about receiving a contradicting view to your own. It really makes everyone involved with Debian look really immature and stupid.

    So please stop on our behalf, if not for your own “personal growth”.


    simon lewis.

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    Subject: Re: What’s the hurry
    Author: robot101
    Date: Sunday, 2002/04/21 – 01:23
    People are spoiled, definitely, by other distros that come out with new software and new releases more quickly, for a variety of reasons, like they have less architectures to support, they are paid to update the packages and have other people in the company to deal with bugs and stuff, they have poor QA, they have a fast release schedule, or just one that is designed to ignore the reliability of the packages they ship, or finally they have someone in the upstream of X to make sure they’re out with a new distro release after every X major release. Naming no names, of course.

    I think you’re being overly harsh on people. There are some valid reasons to want to see a new upstream release.

    In the case of X4.2, people have a right to be antsy. It supports a lot of the hardware that X3 does which was dropped for the sake of a timely X4 release, and does so with better functionality and features like DRI which people have been waiting for some time.

    Some other packages such as Gnomemeeting lag critically behind because the maintainer has agreed something with the upstream which the upstream then fail to do. In which case, they have nobody but themselves to blame for inconveniencing their users.

    With KDE3, I can’t see as much of an excuse. KDE2 is by no means ancient or broken, and KDE3 isn’t a release that adds a critical amount of long-needed features.

    I only cite these examples because they have been cited to me as complaints with Debian, or even reasons for switching away to Gentoo or such. Lots of other complex packages like GNOME, Mozilla, gcc, glibc, etc, are updated in a timely manner, and nobody complains – it’s natural that the people who do complain about the few that do get held up will make more noise than everyone else who is happy. It’s their right to complain, and it’s ostensibly our right to keep on doing what we do for the reasons we do it, regardless of what people say. I just wish it didn’t suck up so much of people’s time.

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