Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: "Michał Górny" <mgorny@g.o>
To: gentoo-dev <gentoo-dev@l.g.o>
Subject: [gentoo-dev] Developers and projects, please stop holding ransom over unmaintained packages!
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2017 09:54:26
1 Hi,
3 TL;DR: if you don't maintain a package, drop it to maintainer-needed, so
4 others can step up.
7 Lately I have had to deal with a fair number of packages which haven't
8 seen any maintainer activity for a few years already. This includes
9 packages with multiple bug reports which haven't seen any response,
10 and is especially true of packages maintained by projects,
11 and especially the kind of projects that loosely couple lots of barely
12 related packages (i.e. categories) -- www-apps, forensics, benchmarks.
14 I can think of a few reasons why this happens:
16 a. creating meaningless projects that attempt to group things which
17 don't have much in common, and where each project member is interested
18 in a subset of the packages,
20 b. developers leaving projects without ensuring that there's anyone left
21 and either cleaning them up or announcing the need for new members,
23 c. developers abandoning their packages and dumping them on generic
24 projects (e.g. dumping random Python programs on python@g.o).
27 This causes two major issues:
29 1. Newly reported bugs are assigned directly to the maintainer.
30 If the maintainer ignores them, then the users end up waiting forever
31 for a reply. In this case, it is indeed better if the user clearly sees
32 that the package has no maintainer and if people subscribing to
33 maintainer-needed@ mail see the new bugs.
35 2. Other developers hesitate to fix the package, and file bugs instead.
36 If the maintainer doesn't reply to those bugs, that's just a wasted
37 developer effort + unnecessary delay in getting things fixed. If they
38 get fixed at all since the developer may forget that he filed a bug.
41 So, developers:
43 A. Please make sure you are only listed as a maintainer for the packages
44 that you really want to maintain. If you are no longer interested
45 in a package, send the usual 'up for grabs' mail to let others take care
46 of it [and lastrite or dump it to maintainer-needed if they don't want
47 to].
49 B. If your project is unable to maintain all the packages it has, then
50 either:
52 B1. announce the need for more project members,
54 B2. 'up for grabs' some of the packages to let them get a dedicated
55 maintainer,
57 B3. disband the project altogether and take over direct maintenance of
58 the packages you care about.
60 C. If you no longer wish to maintain a package, then don't dump it on
61 a generic project without asking first. Just because some project didn't
62 mind being backup/advisory maintainer for your package doesn't mean that
63 it wants to maintain it by itself.
66 Any comments?
68 --
69 Best regards,
70 Michał Górny


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