REVU: Automated Package Checks

Nathan Handler nhandler at
Thu Jan 22 23:30:29 GMT 2009


For those of you who might be unaware, I have taken over Siegfried
Gevatter's (RainCT) role of REVU Coordinator. For the past few days, I
have been thinking about something, and I want to get the opinions of
the rest of the people in the community before taking any action.

Currently, in order for a new package to enter the repositories, it
needs to be uploaded to REVU. There, it can wait either a few hours,
days, or even months for a MOTU to review it. If the MOTU finds
something wrong, the contributor needs to make the necessary
corrections and upload again to REVU. They then need to wait for the
package to get reviewed a second time. This goes on and on until 2
MOTUs find the package to be acceptable for the repositories and
advocate it.

Most people that I have spoken with about REVU feel that the biggest
downside about it is the long delay between the first upload to REVU
and the point at which the package enters the repositories. This long
delay is mainly due to the waiting period between uploading a modified
version of the package and a MOTU re-reviewing it. This is what got me
thinking, if we can reduce the number of times that a contributor
needs to upload a package to REVU, we can greatly decrease the delay.

One way that we can accomplish this is by having REVU perform some
automated checks of the source package (more than it does now). We
could then have it add a comment to the upload mentioning what was
wrong, and send it to the Needs Work list. This automatic check could
look for things such as a debian/changelog entry that has a proper
version and target distribution, and closes a needs-packaging bug on
Launchpad. These are common issues that I have seen on the majority of
the packages that I have reviewed on REVU. By automatically sending
them to the Needs Packaging list with a comment, the uploader will be
made aware of the issues with the package, and a MOTU will not waste
their time reviewing a package that is known to have errors in it.

I am aware that REVU currently checks that the package has a valid
Maintainer in debian/control, has a debian/watch file or
get-orig-source target, and that it is lintian clean (when run on the
.dsc); however, it seems that most people ignore the messages that it
displays above the comments. This is one reason why I feel adding an
actual comment and sending it to the Needs Work list would be much
more beneficial.

Like I said, I am interested in hearing what the rest of the community
things about this idea.

Thanks in advance,
Nathan Handler (nhandler)
REVU Coordinator

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