[packman] PMBS - quo vadis?

Stefan Botter jsj at jsj.dyndns.org
Fri Feb 24 10:29:16 CET 2017

Hi Tomáš, (and of course all other list subscribers),

thank you for your reply.

On Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:03:28 +0100
Tomáš Chvátal <tomas.chvatal at gmail.com> wrote:
>  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...

How long did you wait for a reply? The few packagers here are usually
very busy with the primary day job and their personal life, expecting
an answer right away seems a little bit rushed.

> 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.

It is a good idea to streamline packages, and I am happy to see more
people engaging in packaging on PMBS. On the other hand, it would have
been a good idea to announce this major change on the mailing list and
wait for objections. Of course, if there were no objections or other
ideas in time, going ahead with your intended changes is the way to go.
Your reaction of retracting maintainer rights of one fellow packager
because he made changes or revocations which do not fit into your
ideas, is very bold, and in my mind, not the way we should work
together here.

> With the direction of packman it is of course your choice in the end
> as you are the administrator.

I am not here to swing the high sword, I am just chiming in, because I
received the complaint of one packager. If this was a dictatorship,
after the actions you made yesterday, I would revoke your maintainer
rights in PMBS. But this is not my choice to make. I just happen to be
here directly beside the infrastructure.

>  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.

As I hinted yesterday, Richard expressed the opinion, that Packman is
merely an extension of openSUSE to do the dirty work of publishing
software, which openSUSE does not dare to publish itself. This seems to
be a common opinion among openSUSE supporters, as I can read from the
real quick answers to request made by more inexperienced users in
mailing lists or the openSUSE forum.
"Go include Packman repo, do zypper dup and everything is working.".
Good idea, and it worked real well a few years back, when there was no
Tumbleweed (TW), but just the regular openSUSE releases. It took us some
days, but then the functionality was provided.
And not only this, but as especially multimedia packages are moving
forwards rapidly, Packman provided the things and versions openSUSE was
to slow or inflexible to provide. There are still packages in the
repos, which are there in the way they are for a reason.

Richards objected to the way Packman selected its packages, with
respect to TW. Packman either used package sources hosted and
maintained on PMBS, or used linked packages from OBS' factory. 
This yielded in package versions, which were ahead or behind of TW, and
TW users complained, that Packman broke their system. We should sync
with TW versions. The problem there is, that once TW is available, it
is available to its users, and just then for PMBS to build its own
full-fledged versions. This takes time, and TW users complain about
Packman not providing packages fitting to their TW.

And here again is the misunderstanding. Packman is not just there to
provide the same packages as openSUSE, only fully working ones. Packman
is a repository to host interesting software, which is elsewhere not
found. Or crippled. Or old.

> 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.

We should think about this, though.
I know, there are very few packagers here, and the glory days of a rich
and fast delivery of new and interesting software via Packman are
I am asking here to find a consensus on the future of Packman and the
packages hosted on PMBS. If there is no possibility anymore to follow
the initial goal to provide a one-stop repo for all kind of software in
newest versions, then we should restructure the repositories in PMBS to
still have a small area for the "different" software with a warning,
that installing software from these repos might break the system of
the user. Beside that - and this is just a suggestion - we should have
one repo to just supply the openSUSE packages, that openSUSE can still
think, that Packman is just doing the dirty work.

In any case - and let me re-iterate this - retracting rights in the
build system of another user, just because you can and the actions of
the other user does not fit your idea, is intolerable and not the way
we work together.


Stefan Botter zu Hause
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