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Bug#898481: bugs.debian.org: add new tag "ftbfs"




Package: bugs.debian.org

Hi,

I suggested adding a new general bug tag "ftbfs" on irc and instantly
got a number of supportive replies (Mattia Rizzolo, Adam Borowski,
Jeremy Bicha and vaguely Adrian Bunk).

The suggested tag name is "ftbfs". Let me propose the following tag
description:

    The package fails to build from source. If the bug is assigned to a
    source package, that package fails to build. If the bug is assigned
    to a binary package, the affected source packages fail to build. The
    tag is applicable to non-standard build environments (e.g. using
    Build-Depends from experimental), but the severity should be below
    RC in such cases.

Rationale

We have a number of QA efforts in Debian that depend on packages being
buildable. The following efforts come to my mind:
 * Some people (including Lucas Nussbaum and Adam Borowski) perform
   (partial) archive rebuilds.
 * The reproducible team encounters build failures fairly often.  I
 * encountered a fair number of FTBFS while cross building Debian.
The list is incomplete of course and more people collaborate on tracking
FTBFS. Still it would help to better focus QA efforts. Having an
automatic way to check whether a particular package FTBFS has the
potential of saving time while diagnosing build failures and enables us
to skip testing known-broken packages.

We already have a fairly good notion of what "FTBFS" means. Adding the
tag just formalizes that to the BTS.

Using udd, I estimate that roughly 3% of our open bugs are FTBFS bugs.

Downsides

 * Of course someone needs to do the tagging. Since the vast majority of
   FTBFS bugs are short-lived and the vast majority are filed by a small
   number of people, updating their templates will get us a significant
   tag coverage. I expect that the time saved from using the tag exceeds

   the cost of manually tagging the remainders after three months.
 * A fair number of FTBFS bugs is presently filed with binary packages
   (most of them non-RC). These would have to be reassigned to the
   corresponding source packages (or they indeed affect some other
   package).

 * Exposing the tag in tools like reportbug might make it more difficult
   to users trying to report bugs. It could be reserved for the expert
   level.

Alternatives

 * It has been suggested to simply exclude any RC buggy packages from
   QA. That could be an incentive to keep your package RC-bug free.

 * Most FTBFS bugs can presently be identified by searching the subject
   for the word FTBFS. In udd one can match "title LIKE '%FTBFS%' OR
   title LIKE '%ftbfs%'".

I believe that there is sufficient consensus for the addition of the
tag. I am Ccing the bug to d-devel anyway in case someone wants to
object.

Helmut