|From:||Steve Langasek <steve.langasek-AT-ubuntu.com>|
|Subject:||Re: Proposing a New App Developer Upload Process|
|Date:||Tue, 4 Sep 2012 18:01:56 -0700|
Hi Scott, On Tue, Sep 04, 2012 at 05:50:12PM -0400, Scott Kitterman wrote: > On Wednesday, September 05, 2012 12:11:18 AM Emmet Hikory wrote: > > For application developers who prefer standard locations, I don't see > > any reason we oughtn't simply add their packages to the repository with > > immediate backport: in addition to allowing application developers to put > > their files in any policy-compliant location, it automatically provides a > > safe upgrade path for users. Even for software with release cycles that > > require significantly more frequent updates than typically provided by our > > release cycle, there are few barriers to keeping this updated in backports, > > and users who have installed from backports will remain with backports, so > > their most active and interested users may be expected to always have the > > latest version, while highly conservative users will be able to enjoy a > > consistent ABI during the life of a given release (although these users > > would need to wait for our next release before using the package). > +1. I've never understood why there is resistance to this. There's a general sense that the Ubuntu archive can't scale out to the degree it needs to in order to take on the next challenges for the platform. While Debian packaging isn't hard for you or me, and while it's definitely gotten much easier over the past 4 years or so, it's still not so easy that we blindly trust outside contributors to get the packaging right without review by an Ubuntu developer. We do not have an infinite supply of Ubuntu developers to do this review. Should the set of software available to Ubuntu users through apt be limited to only that software that Ubuntu developers (or Debian maintainers) have time and interest to take care of directly? Or should users have better (not perfect, but better) ways to install software that's not gotten the attention of the elite inner circle? The intent of Extras was always to make it easy for upstream developers who know nothing about packaging policy to get their software in the hands of users in as reliable and bug-free a manner as possible. To date, it has fallen far short of this goal. We see 130 apps written for the recent app contest that will never make it into Ubuntu or Debian, because no one will ever package them the traditional way; and I think this is the tip of the iceberg. Provided we can address the app isolation issues and streamline the packaging helpers, doesn't it make sense for us to make this software available to our users - all of it, not just the ones an Ubuntu dev looks at and decides are personally interesting to them? Sure, there's going to be some low-quality stuff in there that our users aren't going to want. But isn't it better to let users judge this quality for themselves instead of having it pre-judged by what Ubuntu developers choose to work on? I may know a lot about putting together a distribution, but I'm a terrible judge of what the next big thing will be that's important to users, and I'd rather our users didn't miss out on it because of my poor ability to pick the winners. Given this goal, then, backports is not a solution. Backports is a necessarily heavy-weight process, of getting the package prepared, sponsored (possibly after several rounds of feedback), through the NEW queue for the devel release, and only then backported. That works for some upstreams who can invest that time and energy, but it won't work for all of them, and if it did I think the backports team would quickly reconsider the workload. And it's a process that largely doesn't map to the goals of the upstream who is trying to get their software into the hands of the users running the current stable release, *not* to get their software integrated into Ubuntu itself. It's entirely possible that some of this software won't be relevant by the time the next Ubuntu release comes out! Why put an upstream through a process optimized for long-term integration of the distribution when all they care about is getting an app out to users that gives them information about this month's beer festival? Does this explain better why there's resistance to using the backports process for this class of package? -- Steve Langasek Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS Debian Developer to set it on, and I can move the world. Ubuntu Developer http://www.debian.org/ email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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