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Re: Removing packages perhaps too aggressively?

On Friday, February 02, 2018 06:30:28 PM Adrian Bunk wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 11:18:28PM -0500, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> > On Thursday, February 01, 2018 11:56:21 AM Paul Wise wrote:
> > > On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 3:14 AM, Andrej Shadura wrote:
> > > > For example
> > > 
> > > Here is another example of a low-quality RM bug; removal at request of
> > > the maintainer, with no reason stated.
> > > 
> > > https://bugs.debian.org/887554
> > > 
> > > As a result of this, DSA has to resort to stretch or snapshot.d.o for
> > > out-of-band access to our s390x machines.
> > 
> > As the FTP team member that processed that removal, I can tell you I think
> > it's perfectly fine.  I don't think the FTP team should be in the business
> > of second guessing maintainers that say their packages should be removed.
> I don't think it should be the sole decision of the maintainer to get
> a package removed.
> Like in the case at hand:
> Last maintainer upload was in 2014.
> Maintainer does nothing (including no action on a "new upstream release"
>                          bug from a user in 2014).
> Maintainer files RM bug in 2018.
> Why does the maintainer have the sole decision here?
> The package would have been in a better state had it
> been a QA-maintained orphaned package since 2014.

Sometimes the maintainer is wrong, but someone has to decide.  There are 
approximately two choices for who decides:

1.  Maintainer, who knows about the package.
2.  FTP team member, who does not.

I guess, in theory, there's a third choice of some committee that reviews 
these requests before they are referred to the FTP team for action, but I 
think it would be a horrible idea.

There are packages that do fine as QA maintained and there are others that 
really should not be in Debian unless someone is watching over them.  I have 
asked for packages that I maintained to be removed for that reason.  I think 
the maintainer is the best one to make this call.

> > If it's important, someone who cares enough should re-introduce the
> > package.
> This works nicely, assuming the user who needs the package is a DD and
> notices immediately.
> For normal users who are not following unstable the situation
> is less rosy.
> And if a normal user would notice immediately, what could he/she do?
> Even an RFP to get a perfectly working package re-added just like it
> was before the removal has close to zero chance of being acted on.

I agree that it's not a general solution.  I was referring to this specific 

I also think it's difficult for people who don't routinely process rm requests 
to appreciate how rare a controversial removal is.  It almost never happens 
(in the context of the large number of requests that get processed).  
Statistically this is virtually a non-problem.

Scott K