Back in May, we reported on a longstanding
committee "bug" that proposed replacing the Debian Python maintainer. The
bug has existed since March 2010, and the problem of dysfunctional
communication among the maintainers of various Python packages goes back
further than that. It looked like things might be coming to a head in May,
but the problem was finally resolved—or at least the technical
committee rendered a judgment—on
It is not clear what precipitated the restart of the technical committee
vote process, though a thread on hijacking
packages in debian-devel at the same time may have been a partial trigger. In
any case, Don
Armstrong drafted a resolution for
consideration on September 27. A few comments were made, which were
then addressed by Armstrong, who called
for a vote on October 4. The vote was quickly resolved in favor of
not replacing Matthias Klose, the Debian Python maintainer.
While the vote was lopsided, it was hardly a ringing endorsement for Klose
or his communication style. The other two options (besides the
ever-present "further discussion") were to turn over the Python package to
two different teams led by new maintainers: Sandro Tosi, who filed the
original bug, or Jakub Wilk, who volunteered back in April. The choice for
leaving Klose as the
maintainer includes an additional clause that suggests a change:
8. The committee requests that Matthias Klose consider adding
additional co-maintainers to the python interpreter package.
The resolution also contained a bit of a recap of the problems, at
least from the perspective of the committee. The communication
difficulties reached a point some time ago that Klose has essentially
stopped posting to the mailing list (and, for that matter, never posted any
kind of response or clarification in the bug). Those problems stem from a
feedback loop spelled out in the resolution. Essentially, flames posted
about the motives of various participants led them to withdraw from
communicating, which resulted in more flames (and, eventually, the
resolution). The resolution notes: "Neither the inflammatory comments, nor the lack of response are
It has been clear over the two and a half years this has gone on that the
committee members are rather disappointed that they are faced with the
issue. It is not just that they have a make a hard decision that "will appear to validate one problematic
behavior or the other", but also that the parties involved couldn't
resolve it on their own.
It is a bit unclear what the result of the decision will be. Wilk is still
active on the debian-python mailing list, while Tosi hasn't posted in more
months. Neither may be a long-term indicator of their plans regarding
Python in Debian. After initially being resistant to a forcible change of
maintainer, Wilk changed his mind on
August 10, which is how his name ended up on the resolution ballot.
That may also have helped spur a final tech committee vote on the issue.
But, moving forward, the committee did make a request to address one of the
bigger problems that was cited when the bug was first filed. Because of
the lack of communication, changes to Python packaging that affected other
related packages were not being announced. In a clause that would have
been present no matter how the vote went, the resolution covers that
6. The committee requests that all major changes in the python
interpreter packages which will affect other packages in Debian be
announced on the appropriate mailing lists before they take effect so
they can be planned for and/or unplanned problems discussed.
It is certainly a sticky situation when maintainers of related packages
cannot seem to get along. Debian is famously maintainer-oriented, giving
those maintainers wide latitude in how they handle "their" packages. That
was likely a significant factor in the decision-making process. But, even
with the vote, things may really not be resolved and the committee may need
to get involved again. One hopes not, but the resolution doesn't necessarily
really change anything.
Comments (1 posted)
Ryan Hill wrote:
> I'm assuming that since we're now having dozen-post threads about
> whether or not to have periods in our descriptions that all the hard
> stuff has been solved?
Perhaps in planning QA, for now, but certainly not in executing it.
Documentation is lacking, too, and then some people still wouldn't read
it anyway, and with more EAPI changes we keep adding more ways to screw
it up, so please stand still while we reinvent the wheels on your desk
-- Jeroen Roovers
Taking over unmaintained packages should not be hard. We need people to
do it. We need people to do it more than they do today. We need to make
-- Sune Vuorela
Focusing on outcomes is what I'm all about - forget about EAPIs -
focus on what it is that we really want, and make those things that
-- Rich Freeman
Start with an idea, discuss it, come up with a plan, find resources for that
plan, and then implement. Sometimes things happen the other way around, but
only when we happen to be lucky, and it often has consequences like extra
ongoing work with no support. So, just talk is an important place to start.
-- Matthew Miller
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Ubuntu 12.10 "Quantal Quetzal" has been released. Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core images are available for download now; the official variants (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Lubuntu, and Ubuntu Studio) are expected to follow later today. Among the changes in this edition, of course, is support for UEFI secure boot.
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Debian Pure Blends are distributions that take packages from Debian's main
repository to create a smaller and more focused distribution, such as
Debian Science or Debian Med. These bits cover scientific citations,
prospective packages in VCS, a proposal to move Blends code from SVN to
Git, and a brief look at some existing Blends.
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Newsletters and articles of interest
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