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Confusing our users - who is supporting LTS?




Hi,

I'm quite concerned by what I think is a user perception problem
around LTS. When the LTS project started up, discussions made it clear
that existing maintainers and teams were *encouraged* but not
*required* to help with the LTS effort. Paid effort would be used to
help fill in for security support, for example - the regular security
team chose not to volunteer to extend security support.

However, it's clear that this is not understood by all our users, and
that is not a good state of affairs. It's causing confusion for users,
and in turn causing pressure on existing volunteer maintainers to
support LTS too.

The *particular* example that I've just seen is in reference to our
cloud images, but I can see it also coming in other areas which are
outside of the normal role of package maintenance.

At our cloud team sprint 2 weeks ago, we had a discussion and agreed
as a team that we did not want to spend additional effort on
supporting oldstable images beyond the normal release cycle. In the
last few days, we've started removing links to our existing Jessie
images so that users looking for Debian cloud images will find Stretch
images in preference. The older downloads are still available, just
not publicised so well - users can continue to use whatever they
need. We've already had complaints today from confused AWS users that
they're no longer finding the Jessie images. It seems that they're
expecting to continue to use those Jessie images for the full LTS
lifetime. Don't get me wrong - of course we also want to support our
users. But we don't have an infinite amount of effort available. We
have a lot of work in our plan for the upcoming Buster release. The
more time we spend supporting older images, the less time we have to
do that new work. There's only a limited supply of spoons to go
round...

So I'm worried that those of us who have *not* volunteered to support
LTS are being pressured into spending our time on it anyway. What can
we do to fix that? How/where do we clarify for our users (and
developers!) what LTS means, and what expectations are fair?

-- 
Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                steve@xxxxxxxxxx
"... the premise [is] that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It's not.
 Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining
 the human condition with dignity and respect."
  -- Bruce Schneier

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