Debian and Fedora distro development

A longtime Debian developer Michael Stapelberg described his
frustrations with their distribution development environment

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Many points are spookily similar to issues in Fedora, as discussed on
this list, for instance the automation of large-scale changes,
especially as it intersects with individual packagers' autonomy. I
thought it's a good read for people who care about Fedora infrastructure.


Re: Debian and Fedora distro development

By Zbigniew =?utf-... at 03/12/2019 - 12:34

On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 11:52:50AM -0400, Przemek Klosowski wrote:
I think Fedora has managed to avoid many of the issues Michael list:

- the management of package sources is centralized and uniform.

- we have a formalized process for wide-scale changes, and
provenpackagers who do push such things through. In fact, if a
packager wants to do some massive change, this is often used as
justification for getting pp privs.

- we generally don't rely solely on individual packagers to implement
new paradigms. We use a combination of scripted changes, PRs in
dist git, bugzillas, and nagging. If we don't do the automatically,
this is most likely because we don't know how to automate it, and
not because we don't have the ability to push automatic changes.

- we're very slowly moving towards automatic packaging. There's still
a lot of manual work, but tings are improving all the time. It
depends on the language stack, but for example in the python world a
lot of the packaging is now done using a standard template with a
few macros, and we're slowly moving towards autogeneration based on
upstream description. Rust and go and some other languages are even
more automated.

If one of the proposals for BuildRequires generation goes through,
the packaging landscape will shift even more.

And in general, Fedora *is* able to make a choice. We have one dist-git,
one init system, one default compiler, one kernel, soon one python
version, etc. We don't have insanities like local maintainer builds,
binNMUs without changelog entries, packages without version control.
And in extreme cases of non-cooperating maintainers, FPC and FESCo
will put their feet down to force things to happen.

We do have other problems... but I think ours are quite a bit
different than Debian's.


Re: Debian and Fedora distro development

By Nicolas Mailhot at 03/12/2019 - 12:47

Le 2019-03-12 17:34, Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek a écrit :

Yes, we do have the same class of problems (old infra and processes that
need revamping now¹ to keep an attractive contributor experience), but
the actual list is not the same

¹ As opposed to “somewhat in the future” that tends to become “never” in
a mature organisation. When it reaches “never” the organisation starts