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Mon, 16 Nov 2009

On mentors and museums

This evening I investigated #555941 in libxml-filter-xslt-perl, and was able to downgrade it to "important". I'm working on a proper fix, but it's not RC any more. (Gunnar, I don't mean to make you feel bad! I've been inactive for a while myself - I'm just making up for lost time.)

And now for conversation via blog!

Clint, I'm inclined to agree about ego, fiefdoms and so on. But I'm unconvinced that personal relationships themselves are harmful. Actually, I was thinking more about "professional relationships" - I don't care much whether mentors take their mentees to an art gallery, provided they work with them over a period of time, and therefore get to know the quality of their packaging. (I was a bit careless in my phrasing last night.)

Having said that, let's do that as well! Indeed, building relationships so that we don't flame each other to a crisp the rest of the year is the very reason we hold DebConf, right? (Apart from the beer. And the holiday.)

I reckon the mentoring system would be more effective if we started thinking along these lines, and this in turn would help address the wider problem of resources within various parts of Debian. Maybe not directly, but it could free up other people to work on the complicated stuff. We could probably turn debian-mentors into a sort of "team" in its own right. (Apologies if someone's suddenly made debian-mentors active again behind my back.)

And if I ever get approved by DAM (ahem), I intend to propose a deal to the debian-mentors list that each upload of an updated package will cost them one RC bug NMUdiff, and uploads of new packages will cost two. ;)

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 21:24 | Tags: ,

More RC bugs

Heh, thanks zack for your welcome. :) I'm afraid I don't make bug fixing look as easy or as organised as you do.

Some cheating to finish off the weekend: #548860 was reopened accidentally, #555898 was already fixed in another package, and #555939... actually, that did need a fix, but I just munged the test suite to expect some new error output.

Then I spent this morning writing half a testsuite for svn-buildpackage, and this evening just zoning out.

Sometimes I wonder whether fixing RC bugs is actually improving the quality of the release, or just letting us make a buggy release sooner. Non-RC bugs get pushed to the back of the queue. Hmm. But the pkg-perl team has around 170 packages with bugs in, and not that many people fixing bugs. I have to agree with corsac on the general point that just about everywhere in Debian could use more people.

There's a huge role for non-DDs to play in getting fixes into Debian, but as far as I remember, the emphasis of the mentors documentation is on packaging rather than bug fixing. I was barely aware that I was even allowed to prepare an NMU. And from what I know of the NM process now, a huge list of RC bug fixes would go a long way to establishing credibility as a potential DD - longer than a huge list of poorly-maintained packages.

It seems to me that the mentor relationship works better when DDs get to know particular people, and regularly sponsor uploads for them. This way they are in a better position to advise and sponsor any NMUs that might come along, and eventually to advocate them as an NM candidate. But it also seems to me that debian-mentors is not geared up for this at the moment.

To conclude, it's 1am, and I shouldn't be posting controversial thoughts on my blog. :)

Posted: 16 Nov 2009 01:09 | Tags: ,

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