[Pkg-owncloud-maintainers] Bug#816376: Bug#816376: Unfit upstream

Jos Poortvliet jospoortvliet at gmail.com
Wed Mar 9 21:30:13 UTC 2016

On woensdag 9 maart 2016 19:21:31 CET MJ Ray wrote:
> Jos Poortvliet wrote:
> > The situation is rather sad and frustrating as users who decided to trust
> > the Debian developers and took their packages over ownCloud's provided
> > packages are now stuck on a version which can't trivially be upgraded to
> > either our upstream version or anything else. We would love to find a
> > solution for them - as I've said many times, our main concern is the end
> > users, rather than politics, rules or anything else.
> One of the debian project's top priorities is its users and it has
> rather more track record of providing solid software for them for the
> long term which is WHY the various rules, policies and guidelines were
> defined. They weren't just adopted as self-flagellation by masochists.
> There seems to be a complete and total lack of appreciation for that
> upstream in this instance.

Well, it's true that I'm rather skeptical of some of these rules, yes. We 
(myself and many others at ownCloud) aren't exactly new to the world of 
distributions - my previous job was at SUSE, the same goes for our CEO and 
half the management team and many others.

I've said it would be healthy for distributions (in general, I haven't aimed 
at Debian or any other specific distro in this regard) to re-think these rules 
as many of them were developed for applications of a rather different kind (C/
C++ console or desktop tools, mostly). Now I know many of the modern languages 
have been doing stupid stuff like re-creating packaging tools (eg ruby, php 
and others) and that creates all kinds of annoying issues.

I won't claim that throwing the hat in the ring is the best way of dealing 
with that. Blindly packaging the ruby gems doesn't work that well either, 
though (ever tried to deploy ruby apps? I've done only a little, but what a 
PITA, if you try to stick to the distro or mix distro packages with the native 
language 'packager' - blegh.

It is a mess. We all know it. We should look for solutions - because if we 
don't, as I've said a few times: distributions will become 'the thing you run 
a docker container on'. And indeed, Snappy, project Atomic - there is work 
going on in this direction.

Anyhow, none of that is terribly relevant in this conversation. What is 
relevant is that, due to distribution rules, the ownCloud maintainers in 
Debian had to make changes which, we as upstream, felt were endangering user 
data. Now I'm sorry that some expressed that feeling strongly - then again, is 
that new in our open source community?

As I wrote in the other email - I feel there were two options: Debian would be 
flexible with the rules, making things work until, perhaps, ownCloud could be 
modified to fit the Debian rules (or perhaps these rules were no good fit, 
period). Or - no more Debian ownCloud packages. I don't know if the first 
option was ever considered - all I know is that we ended up with the second.

I have opinions about that - which I'll leave out of this conversation. The 
end result is no fun, that's for sure.

> If owncloud debian packages don't ever have a simple upgrade path, then
> that's not much different to using owncloud upstream releases IME! :(
> Regards,

Everything I do and say is based on my view of the world today. I am not 
responsible for changes in the world, nor my view on it. Everything I say is 
meant in a positive and friendly way, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
find me on blog.jospoortvliet.com

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