Regarding checking packages before publishing

This is meant to be a series of posts by @ben79 on the subject of checking packages before publishing. It is hoped that we might gain a few volunteers to help in these efforts.

Also I will attempt to explain the nature of the distribution and how things work in the real world.

As always comments are tolerated and any correction of any error of mine is appreciated. This is one way how I learn.

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First a brief explanation of how things work in OpenMandriva the distro.

OpenMandriva is a Community distribution. This means that literally everything is done by and for the community. Every single task is done by someone in the Community.

This also means there is no company. There is no boss. There are no employee’s. There is no one to tell other people you must do thus and so and there are no employee’s to tell that to.

Thus the things that Community members step up and do are the things that get done. Things that no one steps forward to do simply do not get done.

I am on the QA-Team which among other things is responsible for checking packages. For a very long time there have been 3 people doing this. @Colin, @christopher_tanner, and @ben79. I need a break from this so that leaves 2. To properly and adequately do package checking I estimate it would take at a minimum 6 people. So you begin to see the difficulty and why some things are as they are at this time.

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One of my personal goals for package checking/publishing has been to try to keep things in such a state that users can update a system with the “stable” repos with:

# urpmi --auto-update

or with one of the gui’s without getting any error message. You all know that this effort has not been successful by and large. Not without hard work on the part of Developers and QA-Team I would add.

Why this has been unsuccessful up to this point is due to 2 factors in my opinion.

  1. It has already been mentioned above. There simply is not enough person power involved in pursuing the task. Edit: In my opinion this goal will never be realized with only 2 or 3 people doing the work of checking packages. Not possible.

  2. The system for checking packages is and has been for months (or longer) broken.

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So what is the system for checking packages? Short answer is Kahinah. Kahinah is a utility where developers deposit packages for testing and approval by QA-Team. It is meant to be linked to the 4 ‘testing’ repos. Main-testing, contrib-testing, non-free-testing, and restricted-testing. So when a developer puts a new package build in testing repo it simultaneously appears in Kahinah. It historically was meant to require 3 Accept votes for a package to be approved and published to the ‘stable’ ‘updates’ repos. Conversely if there are 3 Reject votes then a package is blocked from being published.

Backing up a step for anyone that doesn’t already know. Developers do the work of building packages in Github and ABF (Automated Build Farm). The OpenMandriva repositories are based in ABF.

So Kahinah and ABF are supposed to be linked.

At least that is how I understand it. If any of my colleagues have any correction it would be much appreciated for the education of the Community and myself.

Edit: Coming will be my explanation of what and how I think the package checking process is broken.

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Edit: As far as I know there is no problem with any of the packages mentioned below. My issue is with a system that simply isn’t working as it needs to. And yes this does mean that somewhat to often there are packages that get in updates repos that users will then automatically install that are not and can not have been tested and approved by QA-Team.

I just found a prime example of how the packages checking system is broken. We have systemd-236-2 packages in Kahinah awaiting testing and approval by QA. Not one vote was made to ‘Accept’ these packages. Yet today 01/04/2018 these packages have shown up in main-updates repo. This means that any user that uses a gui to update or simply ‘urpmi --auto-update’ will be installing systemd packages that QA-Team has not even had the chance to test and approve. Install at your own risk.

This is something that should never, ever happen.

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Just to clarify. I am saying that the system for checking packages is broken. I am not saying that any individual or group is responsible for this.

I am not aware of anyone or any group doing anything wrong or anything that could be described as cheating.

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OK, one person “liked” these posts and otherwise no response.

No response is a response. I should take a long break from OpenMandriva. If there is no interest in whether our package checking system works correctly I need to question whether I should continue as a contributor.

Maybe something is not working correctly in this forum, and some notifications did not happened. Also maybe there is less activity between catholic and orthodox Christmas…

Poor Ben completely demoralised by constant abuse of the QA system, very sad. You cannot blame him for being upset.

That is very accurate. And it is very sad.

The problem is are there other people who believe our package checking system is broken and want to devote some of our time and resources to fixing it?

I think it is badly broken and must be fixed but I seem to be a group of 1 with this view. So that implies that I’m not a good fit for this group.

Ben, As you know I have constantly been at this issue so you are certainly not in a group of one. I just have more patience. As we discussed the other night I have put the item on the agenda for todays meeting. It will be discussed; as for the outcome I can’t say.