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Re: Please drop anacron from task-desktop

(Speaking as one of the cron maintainers)

On 08.03.19 19:28, Adam Borowski wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 08, 2019 at 10:22:12AM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:
>> cron is effectively maintained by the distributions anyway; there
>> hasn't been an official upstream release in more than twenty years.
>> This seems like a reasonable feature to add.

True, although each distribution seems to maintain their own fork, and
each of those forks has grown quite organically over the past 25 years.

> The other feature is randomizing a field's value, to avoid load spikes
> across a bunch of machines.  That's the reason for the vast majority of
> wanting to use a .timer over a cronjob.

This is a feature supported by Fedora's fork, cronie. cronie also
supports a number of other features currently requested in our BTS.

Incidentally, for bullseye, I will be proposing to switch the default
cron implementation from our own Vixie cron fork to cronie.

This proposal follows my completion this week of converting our cron's
source, which itself has also grown organically, to source format 3.0
(quilt), resulting in almost 70 patches [reviewers welcome; I'd love to
have independent eyes look over this before I upload it].

Carrying these forward just isn't worth the effort. We're missing out on
features provided by other forks, and I'd rather focus on getting our
Debian features upstreamed in eg. cronie than "upgrading" these 70
patches to ISC cron 4.1, and then pulling in whatever fixes other
distros did.

I uploaded cronie to experimental ages ago, but let it rot there -- that
was really bad of me. I will be uploading an updated version (based on
Andreas Henriksson's work, see Salsa) as soon as I can, but before I
upload to unstable, I need to make sure that cron and cronie are
swappable without issue. At the least, I believe /etc/crontab and
/etc/cron.d should be moved to their own source package.

I intended to post a transition proposal here soon, but it's not ready
yet... but long story short: I believe we would be far better off moving
to cronie than maintaining our old fork.