One unfortunately still too common practice I find in my fellow developers is to rely too much on overlays to get users involved; my personal preference on this matter is getting people to proxy-maintain packages, and the reason is that this way I can make sure the fixes propagate to all the other users in a timely matter, as well as being able to intercept mistakes before I commit them to the tree.
But there are other reasons why I dislike overlays; for instance, they often clash enough with each other, or mix should-be-working packages with don’t-even-try … which is the case of the current Gnome overlay. I used to use the Gnome overlay so I could test and help reporting bugs before the next release hit ~arch; unfortunately since a while ago now, the overlay contains Gnome3/Gtk+3 packages that really shouldn’t be mixed in on a system that is actually used.
This became obnoxious to me the moment I went to actually try Rygel (so that I could actually get rid of MediaTomb, if it worked and I could add it to the tree — that code is noxious!). The problem is not in the high reliance of Rygel on Vala, that would be good enough, given that we have it in tree; the problem is that the Rygel UI (and after trying it out I can safely say that you don’t want to try without the UI) requires either Gtk+3 (no way!) or Gtk+ 2.21… which is the “devel” branch and is present only on the gnome overlay. Not even masked in tree.
It wouldn’t have been too bad, if it wasn’t that upstream (finally!) split gdk-pixbuf from gtk+ itself, so you should finally be able to use librsvg without X11 on the system (which is why my charts are available only as SVG and cannot be seen by some browsers who have trouble displaying embedded SVG). Unfortunately, this also means that they changed the path gdk-pixbuf uses to load the loaders (no pun intended); and the current ~arch librsvg won’t pick that up. Again, the librsvg in the overlay has automagic-deps trouble, and require both Gtk+2 and Gtk+3 to be present to work. D’oh!
This is nothing new, what is the problem? Well, ostensibly beside the fact that Arun blogs about something we can’t have ;) — not your fault, I know, not picking on you, don’t worry Arun!
The problem comes when I’ve asked before why the Gnome stuff is not pushed in main tree under p.mask, like most other teams work, especially given that I can make use of the tinderbox to check reverse dependencies before it’s unleashed, rather than have to report them afterwards. Indeed, Gtk+ and other libraries’ updates tend to be quite boring because there is way too much software that define
GTK_NO_DEPRECATED and similar, which should only be used during development, and thus fail when stuff they us do get deprecated. Of course even if they didn’t define that, the code would be failing at the following update when they get removed, but that’s beside the point now.
Interestingly enough, though, the effect of (at least some) more recent deprecation seem to be causing the same kind of issue (if, by the mere fact we’re talking about Gtk+, to a lesser severity) of the recent glibc-2.12 release in the form of undefined symbols where
GTK_* macros are used.
As you might suspect the tinderbox already stumbled across a few of these packages; while the quick-fix is generally quick (drop the
NO_DEPRECATED definition), the complete fix (use the correct non-deprecated API) takes a while, and I can’t blame the maintainers for waiting to hear from upstream on that matter, especially given the way gtk+ is always dropped like a bombshell. Just to be on the safe side, I’ve now added some further tests to ensure that neither the “symbols” requirements caused by gtk+–2.20 nor those caused by glibc-2.12 will be left standing without further notice. If the tinderbox will ever build such a broken package, it’ll be reporting it to me so that I can file the proper bug.
Now, the gtk+–2.21 situation seem to start just as well; gtkhtml fails to build and it’s even part of Gnome itself. I will be begging the Gnome team again, starting from here, for them to add the ebuilds as soon as they are usable in main tree, under p.mask, so that the tinderbox can start churning at them.
But since people seem to think I write too much negatively, I have to say that at least a few developers seem to actually keep in mind there is the tinderbox available; Samuli, Alexis and Jeroen asked for feedback before unmasking (XFCE, Ocaml and libevent-2 respectively), and the problems found have been taken care of much more quickly then even I expected, for the most part. So if you’re a package maintainer and want the reverse dependencies of your package tested before unmasking a version into ~arch, just drop me a mail and I’ll set up a special run. It can take anything between half a day to a week or two depending on the size of the revdep tree and the queued up runs (right now it’s completing a full-system-set rebuild to see if there were more issues with glibc-2.12; turns out I only hit another problem and that was related to GNU
make 3.82 instead (another “good” scary bump).
After this post, you can guess the following run is going to target gtk+–2.20. If there are no further runs, after that it’ll resume the daily-build of the tree.
Please keep in mind though:
package.mask-ed packages are fine, but the tinderbox will not test any overlay. Get your fixes in the tree proper!