package EOL

Michael J. Knox michael at
Tue Apr 25 22:19:11 UTC 2006

Paul wrote:
> Hi,
>> He said that is up to the debian developer as to how long they want to 
>> maintain the package. He went on to say that as long as the application 
>> function and was free from release critical bugs, then debian will 
>> continue to ship it. He also said, that if a upstream vendor is not 
>> maintaining the application anymore (or seems not to be) then its up to 
>> the packager to fix bugs etc.
>> I am not sure if other agree on that approach or not.
> No. I'm not in favour of this approach. IMO, it's actually what has kept
> Debian back as a distro. They have *way* too much legacy hanging around
> them which makes build times and build sizes insanely huge. I know I've
> fixed bugs on a few packages I package for FE on z88dk (especially) and
> have submitted them to the authors. However, doing this then starts to
> eat into other work.
> Sure it's fun, but is it worth it - especially if the upstream
> maintainer has dropped the package?

Agreed. I only asked him to find a grounding for what others are doing.

>>>> How long without a release till considered inactive?
>>> You can't. I know of quite a few packages that are stable. z88dk and
>>> fuse-emulator are stable and it's been a while since the main branches
>>> have been updated. Neither though are inactive.
>> Right. Perhaps time is a poor measurement of a projects status? Perhaps 
>> some other measurement should be made for determining this.
> Hard one. You can't go on version number or time. Possible answer is if
> there is a development branch, if that's dead then the package is
> possibly/probably dead.

Perhaps failed attempts to contact the lead dev or any other dev too?

I think all reasonable efforts should be made to contact and confirm the 
status of a project.

That said, there has to be a certain degree of discretion on the 
packagers side (or potential packager). If a package is unmaintained 
upstream, but remains bug free and useful, then why should its package 
maintenance change?

>>>> Why Orphane a package that is considered EOL?
>>> Some packages, though EOL, should be kept purely on the merit of how
>>> good they are.
>> My point was more, why orphan it if the general consensus is to drop it? 
>> Should it not be placed in a "dropped" list or something?
> Again. lends weight to my point about the FL branch. If it's dropped
> into Legacy and you want to bring it back to a current branch, that's
> not a problem, but if it's in Legacy it can be effectively considered
> dropped.

Then we need an orphaned list and a legacy list.

orphaned = maintainable, but with out a maintainer
legacy = unmaintainable and with out a maintainer

Grouping them together just leads to people offering to take ownership 
of a package that nobody wants maintained ;)

>>>> I know FE as it stands does not have a policy on this, perhaps its worth 
>>>> knocking out some overall guidelines for the wiki?
>>> Sounds like a cunning plan!
>> Indeed and useful to I would think
> Couldn't agree more. Can anyone who has a FE account set up a page?

I can do this.

If there is also no objection, perhaps we can start a legacy packages 
page also, to house unmaintainable packages?


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