Bug workflow - a wider view

Ian Jackson iwj at ubuntu.com
Thu Jul 5 19:25:16 BST 2007

Christian Robottom Reis writes ("Re: Bug workflow - a wider view"):
> One of the top issues we discussed at last week's Launchpad planning
> sprint was how to do better forwarding of bugs upstream. This covered a
> number of areas:

>  [ generally, manipulating upstream bug systems via launchpad ]

I am quite worried.

Can I reiterate that this needs to be done with more political
sensitivity than is currently apparent ?  I think in a significant
proportion of cases having users manipulate upstream bugs via LP is
likely to give grave offence.

>     - Simplified upstream bug filing, using the user's own credentials,
>       to both Bugzilla and debbugs

LP should not permit itself to be used to file a bug upstream unless
the owners of the upstream bug system have agreed.

Debian is a big case in point - one which we don't want to have any
more embarrassing spats with.  I predict that if we deploy such a
feature in Launchpad without their go-ahead and allow it to feed data
into Debian's BTS, it will cause an enormous row.  I think different
Debian maintainers will have different views about whether they would
like to receive bug reports entered in the Debian BTS via Launchpad.

We need to be sensitive to these political questions and provide
technical mechanisms which permit and encourage behaviours that the
people on the receiving end find constructive and useful (regardless
of our own opinions).  Just as an example, we will probably need the
ability to restrict upstream bug manipulation to only certain upstream

To repeat:

 *  Launchpad should not automatically submit comments or  *
 *  make changes in an foreign bug system without          *
 *  permission from the relevant upstream.                 *

(By which I mean, Launchpad should not permit its users to violate
this rule either.)

Violation of this principle is likely to be considered abuse by the
upstreams who disapprove, and might result in upstreams blocking
accesses from LP to their systems, and even accusations that LP or its
users are violating computer hacking laws.

I say `reiterate' because I first mentioned these concerns in
January 2006:
I didn't receive a reply to this as far as I can remember and as far
as my records indicate.

Negotiating with upstreams (particularly ones like Debian) is likely
to be at least as much effort, and take at least as much time, as the
technical aspects of coding, testing an deployment.  And until we've
started those conversations we don't even know what kind of technical
requirements or restrictions the upstreams might impose that we ough
to take into account in our planning.

Would someone involved in this area please confirm that the principle
I state above will be honoured ?  Which upstreams have already been
contacted about this and how have those discussions gone ?


(Full disclosure: as well as an Ubuntu developer on the Canonical
staff, I have a longstanding connection with Debian - currently as a
Developer, maintainer of a few minor packages, and a member of the
Debian Technical Committee.  As someone with a foot in both camps I'd
really rather not have my legs torn off.)

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list