[packman] PMBS - quo vadis?

Stefan Botter jsj at jsj.dyndns.org
Thu Feb 23 21:23:42 CET 2017

Hi all,

I am thinking for several hours already about how to write this mail.

Unfortunately in the meantime one of our long-time packagers send a
mail to me, complaining about removal of packages he maintained,
without discussion about that fact, and about the retraction of his
maintainership in at least one of our projects. So this compelled me to
raise my voice here.

I am aware, that I am merely a by-stander at packaging, and that I am
only writing here and now due to the fact, that I am maintaining the
PMBS build hardware and thus have administrative rights. I must also
underline, that providing the build hardware, energy and Internet
connectivity is greatfully provided by my current employer, Jacobs
University Bremen gGmbH.

I fully understand the reasoning behind package cleanups, and shifting
packages from PMBS to OBS. Especially since the number of our active
packagers has reduced in the past few years, the load of maintaining
our packages rests on the shoulders of only a few.
On the other hand this bears the threat of loosing a wonderful platform
of diversity of packages.
Packman's mission was to present packages for Linux distributions - now
mainly openSUSE -, which were either
- not available in the distributions, or
- available in distributions, but too old, or
- available in the distribution, but in one or another way crippled.
Also, Packman was intended to be self-contained, i.e. you should not be
required to include additional repositories to fulfill it's package

I believe, it is high time to start a discussion about the way packages
are maintained in PMBS.
About 8 months back Richard Brown could be interpreted, that openSUSE's
perception of Packman is just a different build system of openSUSE
packages, but without the self-applied restrictions of openSUSE of not
providing software with problematic licensing or background.

Currently there seems to be a openSUSE Hack Week project going on, see
https://hackweek.suse.com/projects/packman-diet-2-dot-0, which seems to
aim at cleaning out packages out of PMBS, which do not fit the
Tumbleweed-supplied versions of packages.
Following the blind redirection of rather unskilled users of openSUSE
in search of a fully multimedia-capable system to Packman, it seems
logical, to have a clean repository of said packages. The current
cleanup seems to be a little short-sighted, and cuts some packages,
which had a good reason to be at that very place.

So here is my wish to start a discussion about the way packages in PMBS
will be maintained and moderated, and find a consensus. This includes
also the question, if PMBS's packages should be reduced to the subset of
full-featured packages openSUSE does not dare to provide, would it not
be better for the openSUSE project to either maintain a separate
project in PMBS beside Essentials/Multimedia/Games/Extra, or have the
guts to create an own supplement build system/distribution repository
beside Packman.

To keep the diversity of Packman's packages, Tomas, please revert all
changes done so far in your Hack Week project, and please also refrain
from revoking maintainer permissions of other packagers.
If there are conflicts, then they should be discussed here.


Stefan Botter zu Hause
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