[Aptitude-devel] Stepping down as maintainer/developer

Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo manuel.montezelo at gmail.com
Mon Feb 27 12:14:47 UTC 2012


So I'm stepping down as maintainer/developer.  Don't want to make a
fuss about it, but since the decision has been made public and
appeared in some blogs, weekly news and so on, I wanted this to be
public as well.

About the reasons, well, I don't think that nitpicking every step that
somebody takes to try to improve things is the way to go.  aptitude's
code itself contains many hacks, bad practices, lack of documentation;
the debian package is quite outdated in terms of some packaging
standards; the code and the package are starting to fall out abysmally
in terms of correctness with things like multi-arch or new
package-translation files; and many of the bug reports were
disregarded for years and the BTS was poorly kept up-to-date.

(Not that I blame the original author at all, he's done more than most
by creating and maintaining this project in good shape for so long,
but the facts are there and the quality/state of the code and the
package is what it is).

So about the nitpicking, for example I don't agree that delaying the
release of a new aptitude package for lack of a [obsolete] webpage and
similar lintian warnings *present for years* is a valid reason to
delay an important release with ~50 fixes even if it's only for a day.
 By allowing the most buggy package to stay for longer you're not
improving the quality of Debian, the quality actually decreases, even
if you firmly believe the contrary.

Also, even if my code and coding practices are not going to make it to
the "Beautiful Code" book, I prefer to spend time actually having some
fun coding and making the project overall better than creating the
perfect commit everytime.  And after being working on aptitude for all
of the weekend, spending two hours reading things like "fixing a
string->const& string in an unrelated commit" is bad, I feel quite
miserable.  It's not that I cannot stand criticism, but dealing with
the 8 year old and often obsolete bug reports is dull enough, no need
to make the fun part dull as well.  I also have some nit-picks about
your ways of doing things, but I saved you from the pain because
overall they're not that important.

I think that, all in all, aptitude is a very good example of how a
project can be extremely successful without being perfectly bright and
shiny under every light.  I suspect that if Daniel Burrows had some
nitpickers around him scrutinising every mistake, aptitude would not
be what it's today.

I wish you good luck anyway, but I guess that the environment of the
project is just not enough rewarding for me, or I am not good enough
for it.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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