Ubuntu Touch release mechanics

Steve Langasek steve.langasek at ubuntu.com
Fri Sep 20 05:57:02 UTC 2013

Hi Scott,

On Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 10:34:33PM -0400, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> On Thursday, September 19, 2013 18:30:17 Colin Watson wrote:

> > I've been working with the Ubuntu Touch folks to try to improve how
> > they're landing changes.  At the moment, to try to keep control of
> > things in the run-up to 13.10, they're tracking all their landings in a
> > spreadsheet and asking people not to upload things out-of-band from that
> > that affect Touch images.  A few of us saw some improvements to be made
> > here and suggested using proposed-migration blocks instead of gatewaying
> > uploads, in the hope that that will involve less many-to-many
> > communication and make it easier to test and approve changes.

> I happened to have recently run across a discussion about this
> spreadsheet, so I am, merely by coincidence, aware of it.  While almost
> all of the packages on their list are on the phone image, some of them are
> not limited to the phone, in particular qtwebkit 5.1.1 that was just
> landed without a lot of discussion outside their team.  I don't think such
> general packages should be on a list of packages that Touch "controls". 
> qtwebkit-opensource-src is in both the Ubuntu Desktop and Kubuntu
> packagesets.

I don't know if you're suggesting the qtwebkit-opensource-src package
landing was contrary to protocol (in violation of the feature freeze?); you
say "without a lot of discussion", but that's not the same thing as no
discussion, and this seems to have been explicitly approved by Jonathan as
an FFe in bug #1219695.  So I'm not sure what the concern is there.  I don't
think it's being suggested that the Touch team would "control" these
packages in the sense of being allowed to make changes to them that don't
fall under the existing FFes, only that they would have a sensible mechanism
for controlling how and when changes that *are* covered by FFes land in the
release pocket.

> This completely unannounced list of packages they don't want people to
> touch, doesn't help much if it's not announced.  This needs to go to
> U-D-A, but it does need (as you did put it) to be in form a request.  We
> don't have maintainer locks on packages in Ubuntu and that's an
> organizational feature we should maintain.

The reason it wasn't announced is that it was understood both that Ubuntu
developers outside of Canonical aren't answerable to Canonical management,
and that the risk originates entirely within the Canonical team due to
ongoing feature development targeting 13.10 for Ubuntu Touch.  Although
Colin didn't say so explicitly, I think the logical extension of this is
that community members are *not* required to coordinate their changes with
the folks managing the Ubuntu Touch landing, regardless of which mechanism
is used for coordination within Canonical.

So in the context of the spreadsheet, it was entirely appropriate to ask for
the folks within Canonical who were working on the Qt 5.1 landing to
coordinate that with respect to other changes landing on the phone images;
but that doesn't imply either that the team has been given carte blanche to
make *other* changes to qtwebkit, or that community changes are expected to
pass a gauntlet with the Touch team before they can be accepted into the

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek at ubuntu.com                                     vorlon at debian.org
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