[Desktop13.04-Topic] GNOME plans review

Robert Ancell robert.ancell at canonical.com
Thu Oct 18 03:52:25 UTC 2012

On 17/10/12 18:25, Allison Randal wrote:
> On 10/16/2012 03:56 PM, Robert Ancell wrote:
>> My point is we *shouldn't* take the time to update Debian as it is all
>> cost and no benefit. If you think of Debian as being directly upstream
>> from Ubuntu it sounds good but in reality it is a more "sidestream". If
>> it is outdated in Ubuntu we should update it in Ubuntu and if Debian
>> also wants the update they should merge our changes across as we do the
>> other direction. The most appropriate person to decide if the changes
>> are appropriate is a Debian developer, not an Ubuntu developer.
> "No benefit" is a pretty serious overstatement. Debian has ~2000
> volunteer packagers who maintain the majority of packages available in
> Ubuntu, with automated imports. Ubuntu has ~200 volunteer packagers who
> mostly work with forward-porting small deltas to the Debian packages
> that can't be automatically merged, or making sure Ubuntu integrates the
> latest security fixes from Debian/upstream.
> And then there's a small set of packages that are custom to Ubuntu or
> heavily modified for Ubuntu. For this last set, I agree, it is more work
> to port the changes back to Debian, and the changes don't always make
> sense for Debian to apply. But, spending a bit of time considering
> Debian even for these "odd" packages is a small price to pay for the
> vast benefit we get from Debian overall.
> You probably spend most of your time in this last set of packages, so I
> understand where your perspective comes from. But, it's important to
> keep the wider context in mind.
> Allison

Note that here we are discussing GNOME packages, though I would assert
this statement is true for pretty much all the packages that make up the
Ubuntu Desktop image (i.e. the packages that are most crucial to us).
The time taken to ensure synchronisation and the additional work ensure
those changes are in Debian has a non-significant cost but little to no
benefit to us (because we are unlikely to ever be synchronised).

The GNOME packages that are not on the image or any other package for
that matter, sure, the majority of them come from Debian. And that is of
great benefit to us.

Iain's original statement was that since we can't be in sync with GNOME
then we should try and be more in sync with Debian. And it's that I
disagree with - there are no great GNOME packaging improvements flowing
from Debian to Ubuntu and we should focus on making our packages high
quality and updating them faster. If anyone wants to push our changes
back into Debian or a Debian developer pull them that is a good thing
but it should be done in parallel and not block our progress.


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