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To: gentoo-dev@g.o
From: Duncan <1i5t5.duncan@...>
Subject: Re: how to become a package maintainer
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2009 12:44:13 +0000 (UTC)
Robert Welz posted on Sat, 24 Oct 2009 10:42:48 +0200 as excerpted:

> I am a gentoo user and software developer for a quite a little while. I
> found out that I have some spare time and I like to prepare myself to
> become a package maintainer.
> 
> Are there any links that provide volunteers with the neccessary know how
> of how to maintain a project? I have some money to buy a dedicated
> machine, preferrably an AMD 64. Projects could be something in C++
> combined with networking or PHP/Perl stuff.
> 
> Just in case I decide not to volunteer for private reasons these papers
> may be beneficial for others, too.

http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/devrel/handbook/handbook.xml

That's the Gentoo developer handbook, which is a good place to get a feel 
for what's involved at that level.  Note that there's both the formal 
Gentoo dev political process documented and Gentoo technology (ebuilds, 
eclasses, metadata, common mistakes, etc) guides.

Generally, the idea is to start on something small and work with the 
current devs.  Once they know you, the rest more or less comes naturally 
over time.  Know that there are many who ultimately don't make /that/ big 
a commitment, but who have time to help with the smaller stuff that's the 
first steps toward full developership anyway.

The bug-day Saturdays are a great way to get started.  Or choose an area 
(Gentoo project) you're interested in, hang out here and/or on the IRC 
dev channel and/or the the individual project lists and/or channels, 
follow the bugs for that project, help comeup with and test patches, etc.

Many of the projects have testing overlays where stuff that's not ready 
for the main tree is worked on.  Java has a big one, as does KDE, both 
with a lot of help from non-(gentoo-)dev project testers, many of which 
have commit rights to they project overlays.  There's also the 
experimental projects, or projects that started that way, that are headed 
toward merging into the Gentoo mainstream now.  Gentoo-prefix, devoted to 
making it possible to install Gentoo packages in a user's home dir or the 
like, on Linux or other platforms, is a big one that's headed toward 
merge at this point.

Another way to start if you have specific applications you are interested 
in is with proxy maintainership if a package is in the tree, or the 
Sunrise overlay, for packages not yet in the tree.  A proxy maintained 
package has a non-(gentoo-)dev doing much or all of the real work, bug 
fixing, etc, working closely with a full Gentoo dev (or project/herd if 
it's herd maintained) doing the final commits to the tree but often 
little else, at least once the relationship has been established.  The 
Sunrise overlay is for packages not yet in the tree, but that have 
various Gentoo community users maintaining them.  There's a few Gentoo 
devs that work with them, helping them get the packages into full Gentoo 
shape, so ultimately, if a dev finds the package useful, they can bring 
it into the main Gentoo tree where it may continue to be proxy maintained 
by the same community user.  Of course, there's more packages than devs 
to maintain them, so not all packages ultimately make it into the tree, 
but Sunrise is there for them as long as there's someone in the community 
interested in doing the maintaining at that level.

The various arch teams have arch-testers (ATs) as well.  These guys help 
the devs on the arch teams test packages for keyword stabilization, etc.

Don't forget the Gentoo Documentation Documentation project as well.  
They could certainly use some help from someone willing to learn the way 
Gentoo handles its docs and get their hands dirty helping to maintain 
them.  There's always documentation updates that could be done! =:^)

Many, probably most Gentoo devs come in thru one of these paths, starting 
out working with a project in an overlay or with a proxy maintained or 
sunrise package, or as an AT.  Other quite active users at that level are 
content to stay active at that level without ever becoming full Gentoo 
devs for whatever reason (time, politics, whatever).  Either way, they 
can rest well, knowing they're filling a vital role in the Gentoo 
community, and thru it, the larger free/libre and open source software 
community.

-- 
Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman



Replies:
Re: Re: how to become a package maintainer
-- Robert Welz
References:
how to become a package maintainer
-- Robert Welz
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