Archive reorganisation: summary of pending work
cjwatson at ubuntu.com
Wed Jun 10 10:20:35 BST 2009
When we started out on our Ubuntu journey, we made some key decisions to
simplify development significantly and allow us to focus effectively on
our goals. One of those key decisions was to divide the archive up into
components, and to focus our core team's efforts on a set of free,
supported packages we identified as the "main" component. We knew that
we would unfortunately need to ship some non-free drivers by default,
which we put in "restricted"; and in order to satisfy users who needed
packages we weren't going to support, we put the "universe" and
"multiverse" components in place so that they would not be left out in
While the first Ubuntu developers concentrated on getting main and
restricted into shape, a community initiative formed that took care of
universe and multiverse: our heroic Masters of the Universe.
This simple arrangement served us quite well, and we got ten releases
out of the door using it; but it is showing its age. We divided the
archive into components before there was even such a thing as Kubuntu,
let alone the rich landscape of Ubuntu derivatives that exists today.
The modern Ubuntu community has teams of developers working on
everything from mobile devices through video editing to cloud computing.
It is no longer clear to users which packages are recommended for and
supported on which flavours of Ubuntu, and the simple division of the
development team into ubuntu-core-dev and MOTU is looking increasingly
artificial and does not do a good job of modelling how our development
community really works. To fix these problems, we need to evolve our
original design into a more fine-grained system.
You can read the full specification of our plans so far here:
We are making good progress on planning and on building the foundations
for these changes, and we're confident that we can move ahead with them
over the next couple of release cycles. To avoid too much disruption and
to allow further discussion and planning on the more difficult parts of
the task, we will only reorganise the developer permissions scheme in
the Karmic cycle, deferring the user-visible archive component changes
to a later release.
In Karmic, we will transition from the ubuntu-core-dev and motu teams to
a "General developers" team that can upload all or nearly all packages
in the archive, and a variety of more focused teams that can upload
specific sets of packages. As far as users are concerned, packages will
still live in main, restricted, universe, and multiverse, but it will be
easier for us to grant upload access to developers who are doing a good
job in particular fields. We will work out the necessary process changes
in Technical Board meetings over the coming weeks, and as part of the
transition expect to be working with many individual developers to
figure out how the work each of you do can best be expressed in the new
permissions scheme. Expect more news on this in the near future.
We hope these changes will give us much more flexibility for the next
five years of Ubuntu development and beyond.
Colin Watson [cjwatson at ubuntu.com]
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