Cooperation with Debian

Martin Pitt martin.pitt at
Tue Nov 23 03:18:48 CST 2004

Hi Jérôme!

Jérôme Marant [2004-11-21 16:59 +0100]:
>  emacs21 (21.3+1-8ubuntu2) hoary; urgency=low
>  .
>    * Remove fix-insecure-permissions-on-restore.dpatch, Debian took this
>      and renamed it to remote-files-permissions.dpatch
> -=-=-=-=-=-=-
> which is fallacious because, as the originator of the patch, I got it
> directly from Tramp people as soon as it got commited.

Indeed, this sentence is misleading. Both the Debian and the Warty
package were fixed according to the information from #274427. Above
changelog did not fix the bug itself, but rather merged Debian's and
Ubuntu's changes. Since it is way too much effort to research the
history of each patch during package merges, changelogs should be
formulated in a more neutral fashion. However, I assure you that this
did not happen deliberately and is an exception, not the rule. Please
take our excuses for this.

> For me, this is just an example of effort duplication which could
> be avoided if we could better cooperate.
> So, how can we improve our cooperation? What's wrong with Debian
> maintainership of a such package that lead to effort duplication?

We do not have an official guide how to cooperate with Debian, so I
can only describe my own way here. In general I submit bug reports
with patches for small issues or write to d-devel for bigger
architectural changes (like the recent adoption of the Utopia
enhancements). In some particular cases I work directly with the
maintainer (Sjoerd Simons is an outstanding example here). We
basically develop packages together and communicate over IRC, which is
more efficient than submitting bugs.

Personally I find this style of cooperation quite satisfactory. Of
course I filed many bugs with patches that are not included in the
Debian package (yet), but that is the package maintainer's prerogative
and I do not want to force any solution.

> What are Ubuntu's priorities?

We want to make it work in Ubuntu and show the world that a solution
works without the need of much red tape beforehand. We do not have a
maintainership concept in Ubuntu (everybody can fix every package
without asking), this helps a lot to get changes into the official
version without much fuss.

> As emacs21 comaintainer and potential Ubuntu user, I'm ready to
> help on emacs21 maintainership (as well as emacs stuff in
> general) if necessary.

The best way is (IMHO) still to continue to maintain the package in
Debian proper. We will merge the changes from time to time, and
packages that are not diverged by Ubuntu are automatically
synchronized every day. If we make changes to Ubuntu that are of
interest to Debian, too, we generally follow the approach to offer
these changes to Debian. This does not only help other users, too, but
also eases our future work, so we do have some motivation to give back

Thanks and have a nice day!

Martin Pitt             
Ubuntu Developer  
Debian GNU/Linux Developer
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