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Re: [Idea] Debian User Repository? (Not simply mimicing AUR)




On Sun, Apr 7, 2019 at 9:26 PM Mo Zhou <lumin@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>
> Hi folks,
>
> The absense of a centralized, informal Debian package repository where
> trusted users could upload their own packaging scripts has been
> long-forgotten. As an inevitable result, many user packaging scripts
> exist in the wild, scattered like stars in the sky, with varied
> packaging quality. Their existence reflects our users' demand,
> especially the experienced ones', that has not been satisfied by the
> Debian archive. Such idea about informal packaging repository has been
> demonstrated successful by the Archlinux User Repository (AUR). Hence,
> it should be valuable to think about it for Debian.
>
> Assume that Debian has an informal packaging repository similar to AUR,
> which distrbutes packaging scripts only and requires to be built
> locally. According to my observation and experience, such a repository:
>
> 1. Allows packaging in some compromised manner to exist, which means
> they dont fully comply with DFSG or Policy. This makes great sense for
> several kinds of packages:
>
> (1) Packages that are extremely hard to made compliant to Policy. For
> example, bazel the build system of TensorFlow and other Google products
> - No Debian Developer can make it meet the Policy's requirement without
> great sacrifice. The outcome doesn't worth the waste in time and energy.
>
> (2) Dirty but useful non-free blobs, such as nvidia's cuDNN (CUDA Deep
> Neural Network) library, which dominates the field of high performance
> neural network training and inference. I really hate reading NVIDIA's
> non-free legal texts, and in such repository we can avoid reading the
> license and just get the scutwork done and make users happy.
>
> (3) Data with obscure licensing. In this repository we can feel free to
> package pre-trained neural networks or training data without carefully
> examing the licensing.
>
> (4) Packages with dirty hacks, or targeted on testing the water. This
> makes sense for packages that doesn't worth the effort to make it fully
> compliant with Debian's quality requirement and some user just wants it.
>
> (5) Packages that utilizes SIMD instructions heavily. Such package is
> very easy to package in such repo. (So this Proposal actually suppresses
> and replaces my SIMDebian project).
>
> 2. Allows us to offload some low-popcon, or QA-questionable packages
> from the archive. Debian's archive size is continuously increasing, but
> the number of Debian Developers has been staying around 1000 for many
> many years. Saturation will definitely happen in the future if we do
> nothing to change - or saturation has already happended. An Archlinux
> Developer's saturation point may be several thousand (See Felix Yan, an
> Arch Dev), but a Debian Developer often saturate at, maybe 30~100?
> Handing over some workload to the user community is not a bad thing,
> especially for the cold packages.
>
> 3. Allows us to accept potential contributors friendly, and possibly
> form a new user community. The high quality standard of Debian may scare
> some potential contributors away. In the informal packaging area, it's
> easier for people to contribute. Look at AUR and Archlinux Trusted Users
> as example. Of course, we can promote high quality creations from users
> into debian archive.
>
> Just a few of my naive thoughts. If this idea came true, I'll
> denfinitely be able to continue with TensorFlow and PyTorch packaging,
> at an significantly lower cost. I'm also happy to throw some of my
> low-popcon packages to this area, so I can focus on more valuable ones.
> This idea really excites me. Can we implement it?
>

Why not just start this as a personal project? And prove it works.


-- 
Shengjing Zhu