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Re: NMUs: Do we want to Require or Recommend DH

On Wed, May 15, 2019 at 11:31:46AM +0200, Enrico Zini wrote:
>  - if a package has had an inactive and unresponsive maintainer for a
>    long time, it would indeed be a case for salvaging.
>    I could however imagine someone having enough energy to dust off old
>    packages in the archive, while not having enough energy to pick up
>    maintenance of lots of old dusty packages.

Does the person have the energy to properly test that the changes don't
cause any regressions?

Uploading invasive changes in packages you don't use is usually
a bad idea, and if it ain't broken don't fix it.

>    I would consider the idea of salvaging+orphaning, like following the
>    salvaging procedure but setting the maintainer to qa instead.

Such salvaging+orphaning instead of following the proper MIA process
would be abusive behaviour.

Even more if it is just for a packaging change that would be expected
to result in the same binary packages.

In the worst case you get a pissed off maintainer leaving the project,
and an orphaned package with some RC regression caused by the change.
Without any actual benefits of the whole change.

> With a consensus of having dh as the default build system, and the
> understanding that some packages have good reasons not to use dh, I'd
> like a way to tell when a package is not using dh for a reason, from
> when a package is not using dh because the maintainer has not gotten
> around to it yet.
> I'd propose to recommend dh as the default build system, and document in
> README.source if there are reasons to use something else.
> At that point, one could look at README.source to see if changing build
> system would be an possible strategy for fixing bugs in an NMU.

There's a much easier (and faster!) solution that has already been used 
in the past:

For migrating away from dpatch someone made the changes to the packages,
and then sent the debdiffs to the BTS.

If the maintainer liked the change, it was applied.

If the maintainer was MIA, the patch was applied whenever the package 
was orphaned later.

For a standard conversion to 3-line dh not much is lost if some of the 
patches end up being rejected.

For non-trivial conversions it also sets the right incentive that the 
person doing the change contacts the maintainer first, NMU plus revert 
of the NMU would be a solution inferior to asking the maintainer before 
doing plenty of work.

> Enrico



       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed