[packman] PMBS - quo vadis?

Tomáš Chvátal tomas.chvatal at gmail.com
Thu Feb 23 22:03:28 CET 2017

2017-02-23 21:23 GMT+01:00 Stefan Botter <jsj at jsj.dyndns.org>:

> 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
> requirements.
> 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.
> I completely agree that the conflicts should be discussed here. The only
person I had to revoke rights I emailed right away explaining the situation
because he was blindly reverting all the changes we did without any word to
us. He didn't bother to reply to my mail or ever before to any of the
questions I asked on this mailinglist about k3b as well...

With the cleanups of Essentials now happening only actual packages that
were cut without main openSUSE repository providing them are items
depending on ffmpeg-0.x which contains at least 40CVE's and some remote
executions among them (yes there were packages depending on that which were
removed, but frankly I would rather have non-exploitable system, and I
don't mind recreating those packages if someone patches them to build with
new ffmpeg). Other removals were mostly based around stack that was
supposed to be removed ages ago by simply replacing with renamed libraries
libraries. The end result will simply be almost identical for end user like
the current state.

With the direction of packman it is of course your choice in the end as you
are the administrator. We are grateful for the infrastructure itself but
simply put the growing amount of complains about the state of Packman was
quite dishearting for us on openSUSE side. As you say Richard already
raised these points 8 moths back and without seeing much improvement of
stability in meantime I decided to try to do something about it.
If community around the packman actually decide the goal is not to provide
multimedia basis for openSUSE and we should not strive to improve and tweak
the Packman to go together in the direction we envision for openSUSE we
will of course stop doing those changes and will have to discuss and figure
out other solutions, but that is something I really try to actually avoid
by doing this project.



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