Gentoo Archives: gentoo-project

From: Marius Mauch <genone@g.o>
To: gentoo-project@l.g.o
Subject: [gentoo-project] About herds and their non-existant use
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 21:51:45
1 As this topic jus came up in #-dev, and most people there seemed to
2 agree with me I thought it might be worth to bring this topic up again.
3 The topic is that I think that the whole 'herd' concept we're using is
4 a huge mess and should be removed. Now before eveyone starts screaming,
5 lets look at what this concept actually is, as many people are quite
6 confused by it:
8 1) a herd is a group of packages (not a group of people)
9 2) the herds.xml file is used to assign people and mail aliases as
10 maintainers of a given herd. Unfortuntely the syntax there give
11 the impression that those people/mail aliases actually form the herd
12 3) the <herd> tag in metadata.xml is used to assign a package to a
13 certain group.
14 4) the <maintainer> tag in metadata.xml can be used to assign
15 individual maintainers for a package in addition to/instead of the herd
16 maintainers
17 5) the combination of 2), 3) and 4) is used to determine the
18 maintainers of a given package
20 Now most people will be familiar with 5) to some degree, and that is
21 actually the only valid use case for the herd concept that I'm aware of.
22 Or has anyone some use case where you'd like to know what herd a
23 package belongs to, but don't care about by whom that herd is
24 maintained?
25 If we can agree that this is the only real use case for the herd
26 concept, then I think the concept is quite useless as it's just a
27 redundant layer of indirection. You could just list mail aliases
28 directly as maintainers, without having to consult herds.xml first.
30 This would have a number of benefits:
31 - you no longer have to look at herds.xml to determine the actual
32 maintainers of a given package (as herd-name and associated mail alias
33 don't always match)
34 - it would simplify bug assignment rules, as the current case where a
35 package has both a <herd> and a <maintainer> tag in metadata.xml no
36 longer exists
37 - eliminate confusion about what a herd actually is
38 - only have one location where members of a given team are listed,
39 currently it's possible and quite likely that herds.xml and the mail
40 alias files get out of sync
41 - as others said in #-dev: it makes sense ;)
43 Now there of course are a few things to consider:
44 - obviously, some tools, docs and processes would have to be updated,
45 but that's always the case with changes
46 - someone said that it might no longer be obvious if a package is
47 maintained by an individual or a group of people. But is that really
48 necessary? And it's not even obvious now, as some herds are maintained
49 by a single person.
50 - when I brought this up several months ago it was mentioned that
51 sometimes people want to be on the mail alias of a herd, but don't want
52 to be listed as members (and therefore be responsible). But that can
53 likely be just implemented by some kind of blacklist in the relevant
54 tools instead of using this whole indirection layer all the time.
56 So, what do you think? Is there some benefit in keeping this concept, or
57 can we live without it and make life simpler for everyone?
59 Marius
61 --
62 Public Key at
64 In the beginning, there was nothing. And God said, 'Let there be
65 Light.' And there was still nothing, but you could see a bit better.


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