To Sponsor The Package Or The Person?
By Andrew Price, 2007-06-02 02:59:05 in General.
As you may know, pybackpack originally started off as a Google Summer of Code 2005 project for Fedora. Since I took over maintaining it, I've been keeping the Fedora review request alive in the hope that pybackpack would eventually get to where it was first intended. Of course, my distribution of choice is Ubuntu and most of my open source work that isn't pybackpack is Ubuntu-orientated so getting pybackpack into Fedora hasn't been high on my list of priorities, but I would like it to happen.
The first Fedora review request bug for pybackpack was opened in September 2005 and the latest bug (it had to be redone when extras was merged with core) has been open since January this year. Since then I've managed to get pybackpack sponsored into Debian (and consequently, Ubuntu). The Debian sponsorship process took hardly any time at all - just a day from ITP (intent to package) to upload, if I recall correctly. I thought it might be interesting to compare Debian and Fedora's new package processes point-for-point to see where the big difference lies:
- Uploads of new packages are sponsored by Debian Developers
- The process:
- File an ITP bug
- Build your package
- Upload package to somewhere accessible
- Request a sponsor
- Fix any problems highlighted and repeat until approved
- Package uploaded by a sponsor
- Maintenance of your package is your responsibility, through the sponsor, who will encourage you to improve your packaging skills and start your journey to becoming a Debian Developer (if that's your goal).
- An alternative is one of Debian's teams (e.g. the python team or the games team) will take over maintenance of your package. This is similar to how the Ubuntu MOTU team works, and from what I've seen, it works very well.
- Package submitters are sponsored instead of packages, so they need to be granted access in order to upload their own packages.
- The process:
- Build your package
- Upload your packages somewhere accessible
- Request a review on the bugzilla
- Have informal reviewers comment on your package
- Make required fixes and repeat until approved
- Meanwhile, prove your knowledge of the process by reviewing others' packages or submitting more packages of good quality
- Wait for a sponsor to pick you up
- Get sponsored
- Apply for the access in the Fedora account system and finish up the rest of the process for becoming a contributor
- Upload your package using CVS
- Your packages are maintained by you (correct me if I'm wrong). By this point you've already been become a Fedora maintainer, since it was a prerequisite.
Looking at this comparison, I can't help but feel that Fedora has made it too difficult and daunting for new contributors to get new packages into their archive. Especially busy ones who are the upstream maintainer and have other projects to concentrate on as well. It's true that you get upload permission at the end of the process but not everybody wants to, or has the ability to, get that deeply involved. If Fedora wants to attract more packages they should probably decouple the process of becoming a Fedora contributor with upload rights, which is a lengthy process, from the process of getting a package approved for quality, which is a short and focussed process.
So, I guess I'll have to do some reviewing of other new packages and cut through more red tape before I get pybackpack into Fedora. I'm not totally against that, but my heart isn't really in it and I'd rather spend my time working towards becoming an Ubuntu MOTU and improving pybackpack. If anyone would like to take over maintaining the Fedora package of pybackpack from me, please do get in touch.
Kevin Mark writes:
It seems that the fedora process is closer to the new maintainer(NM) process that is required to become a debian developer(DD). And the addition of the sponsorship process in Debian made your contribution possible. So maybe Fedora should create something similar.
Jochen Schmitt writes:
The main differents is, that on Fedora you only need to get one package to be reviewed for getting sponsored.
On debian as far as I have understand, you should create serveral packages until your sponsor propose you to become as debian developer.
From my point of view, for a new contributor is it easier to become a official Fedora maintainer instead to become a official Debian Developer.
So in opposite on the above article, you don't have done any review on other packages. The only thing you need, is too create a package which pass the review process.