[Proposals] Consult with Flavor Leads before Beta Freeze / Flavors Underrepresented

Lukasz Zemczak lukasz.zemczak at canonical.com
Tue Mar 31 08:07:27 UTC 2020

Hello Erich!

Sorry to hear that you are not satisfied with the release process so
far. The last thing I, and possibly all other release team members,
would want is for flavors and flavor leads to feel underrepresented
and ignored. With most releases (point-releases) I tend to always
check with flavors if they are satisfied with the current
state-of-things before proceeding, which I might have not done
explicitly yet, mostly due to the fact as we did not build candidate
images just yet. The Beta Freeze is not a hard-stop, and the release
team always makes sure to keep track of what lands in the queues,
keeping an eye out for any important packages that might be needed for
the milestone. Feel free to consult any of us whenever you, or anyone
else, feels that there is an upload still missing.

I agree with Steve's position here. Even though as you said, the world
does not revolve around Ubuntu, being part of the Ubuntu family we all
follow the same strictly time-based release schedule. Sometimes there
are slips, sometimes there are slides, but generally we all try to
strictly follow the schedule, at least to some extent. The dates are
well known and we try to communicate the incoming freezes, sending
reminders. Delaying a freeze is possible, but would need good
reasoning for that to happen - as a delay here can cause the delay of
the milestone release date. Which means the delay of all flavors
involved. We are all tightly bound together, so we need to work
together, considering the well-being of everyone.
As Steve mentioned, Beta Freeze is not yet the final call. If you
still need something critically in for Beta, please upload and give us
a sign through any available media. We trust you, and trust that you
know best what is needed for your flavor to shine.

Please remember that handling Ubuntu releases is *hard*. Ubuntu is a
big project with lots of wonderful flavors. We try to make sure that
we consider all the flavors equally, but it's not always possible -
there's always so many moving parts that it's a non-trivial task. But
most important of all: if at any moment you feel that your concerns or
your flavor's voice is ignored and you think you are not treated
equally, please give us a sign. Tell us what's wrong. We will try
explaining ourselves and then try to make it better. Feel free to tell
us of the situations when you thought that some other flavor had more
of a voice than yours either here or privately.

What I generally mean: we'll try to continue and improve our ongoing
communication with flavor leads all the way, but just feel free to
reach out to us directly yourself. With anything. Keep us in the loop!


On Tue, 31 Mar 2020 at 07:46, Steve Langasek <steve.langasek at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> Hi Erich,
> On Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 04:18:07PM -0700, Erich Eickmeyer wrote:
> > I have a package (carla) for which I have PPU upload rights for that I
> > have been working with the upstream for getting a release today. Despite
> > this, the upstream developer could not meet this deadline for their
> > release, which is really not their problem as the application isn't
> > necessarily developed for Ubuntu specifically (the world doesn't revolve
> > around Ubuntu). This is a bugfix release being prepared (carla-2.1-rc2,
> > with carla-2.1-rc1 already in the archives) in preparation for a final
> > release mid-April prior to Final Freeze.
> > Unfortunately, beta freeze came without any discussion as to if the
> > flavors were ready for this freeze, and now flavors must rely on a small
> > group of developers (the Release Team) to approve any last-minute,
> > intended-for-beta uploads. With carla being a release candidate, it is
> > perfect for beta testing in preparation of that final release, not only
> > for carla, but for Ubuntu.
> > Additionally, carla is a seeded package in Ubuntu Studio.
> > [Proposal 1]
> >
> > I believe that the release team needs to check with the flavor leads
> > prior to enacting the beta freeze, just to make sure there are no
> > last-minute intended-for-beta already-seeded packages preparing for
> > upload. A good way would be checking with the flavor leads either in
> > #ubuntu-flavors or on #ubuntu-release (which many, if not most, are
> > monitoring). I think this is important especially for packages in the
> > archive that are in beta or release candidate status that have an
> > imminent bugfix or final release from an upstream.
> Speaking with my Release Team hat: we do time-based releases, and the dates
> are known well in advance.  The manual process of the Release Team approving
> exceptions to the milestone freeze exists because we know not all seeded
> packages, across all flavors, are going to be ready for beta at the start of
> the freeze.  Nevertheless, a freeze is necessary to impose control over the
> set of changes going into the milestone preparation.
> In this case, you want the carla package to be included in the beta.  But
> you probably wouldn't appreciate it if some other Ubuntu developer uploaded
> 5 other packages for unrelated reasons, that happened to be included on the
> Ubuntu Studio images, without talking to the Ubuntu Studio team, and
> possibly introducing bugs at the last minute before the beta.
> Delaying the freeze would, in aggregate, also mean delaying the beta,
> because of the risk that some flavor image or another would be impacted by
> such a regression that results in a respin.  Consulting flavors about
> readiness prior to freezing only serves a purpose if we are willing to give
> flavors a veto over the timing of the milestone release itself - which we
> are not, as this would adversely impact all other flavors who are otherwise
> ready to freeze at the scheduled time.
> In the case of carla, this package has now been accepted.
> > [Proposal 2]
> > I believe the release team does not currently represent every flavor
> > equally, and that they do not take into account the needs of all of the
> > flavors. Therefore, I believe that the release team needs to also
> > consist of a representative of each flavor, whether that be the flavor
> > lead or another delegate from the flavor teams. It seems as though all
> > flavors are not treated equally, and that some flavors are seen as
> > burdens and ignored while other flavors are given more of a voice.
> > Including more people for the release team would reduce the burden on
> > the existing release team, and remember, it should never be about "control".
> The Release Team is always open to involving new members.  However, the role
> of the Release Team is one of coordinating milestones, managing
> proposed-migration, and reviewing freeze exceptions and the contents of the
> unapproved queue during the freeze.  There is a high skill barrier for being
> part of the team due to the technical judgement that is required to be
> exercised, and if one's goal is to improve Release Team responsiveness for a
> particular flavor, joining the Release Team is an inefficient way to go
> about it.
> We have a longstanding practice of delegating to representatives of the
> flavors the authority to approve feature freeze exceptions for packages
> seeded only by those flavors.  I see no reason why we wouldn't consider this
> for Ubuntu Studio.
> > Even if neither of these proposals are accepted, I think we the
> > discussion should at least be opened for some sort of solution, and the
> > situation should not be disregarded. I'd love to hear some thoughts on
> > this. Let's be pragmatic and learn how to trust a little more. :)
> > Warmest regards from cold Seattle,
> > Erich
> >
> > ----
> > Erich Eickmeyer
> > Project Leader
> > Ubuntu Studio
> > ubuntustudio.org
> --
> 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                                   https://www.debian.org/
> slangasek at ubuntu.com                                     vorlon at debian.org
> --
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> technical-board at lists.ubuntu.com
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Łukasz 'sil2100' Zemczak
 Foundations Team
 lukasz.zemczak at canonical.com

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