One thought on “Gentoo packages and co-maintainership

  1. I can relate to what you say about developers having their own pet projects. I know for sure that it applies to the original developers of any given package, and it makes sense that it applies also to the developers who make a package work with a distribution.What makes this problem worse for Gentoo is that there seems to be no infrastructure for multiple developers to share the burden for maintaining a package (or, better still, a pool of packages). Sure, there are herds which handle some things; they communicate, so far as I can tell, with messaging services like IRC. I don’t know about you, but I find IRC to be intensely dissatisfying–especially when it comes to retaining information.What is needed, at the minimum, is a wiki where developers can update their shared knowledge about the packages they maintain. This would not only help the developers be able better to understand what the other developers did, but it also would make it easier for other developers to join in! The documentation could also contain information from the testers. Features like a Git repository and a bug tracker would be nice, but the setting up the shared knowledgebase would be the indispensible first step.It may be that I am discussing something like Alioth. I don’t know much of the workings of Debian except that they pull boneheaded stunts like zeroing out the block of newly allocated memory that OpenSSH used as part of its random seed. (I’m not going to throw stones too hard–after all, anyone can pull a boneheaded stunt.) They describe Alioth as a “Sourceforge for Debian”. If that’s the case, I think the vital missing feature is a much stronger emphasis on developer documentation than is typical on Sourceforge. (Also, any downloads it offers should be only for documentation and files related to development and testing.) This setup would work best if it encourages multiple developers to take an interest in multiple projects.All in all, I think this would help us ease into shared maintenance of packages.

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