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1 GLEP: 40
2 Title: Standardizing "arch" keywording across all archs.
3 Version: $Revision: 1.8 $
4 Last-Modified: $Date: 2005/01/09 16:12:40 $
5 Author: Grant Goodyear <g2boojum@gentoo.org>
6 Status: Draft
7 Type: Standards Track
8 Content-Type: text/x-rst
9 Created: 3-Sep-2005
10 Post-History: 6-Sep-2005
11
12 Credits
13 =======
14
15 This GLEP originated from a rather contentious discussion_ on gentoo-dev
16 about combining the x86 and amd64 keywords. This GLEP attempts to get at the
17 heart of that discontent. The proposed stable-keyword guidelines have been
18 lifted verbatim from `The Doc`_.
19
20 .. _discussion: http://tinyurl.com/bp859
21 .. _The Doc: http://dev.gentoo.org/~plasmaroo/devmanual
22
23 Abstract
24 ========
25
26 It is time for x86 to no longer be an exception to the standard
27 keywording guidelines. Thus, an x86 arch team should be responsible
28 for moving packages from ~x86 to x86.
29
30 Motivation
31 ==========
32
33 The original, informal x86 keywording policy, where almost any x86 dev (which
34 were the vast majority of devs) who used a package could mark it stable, arose
35 from a time when there were relatively few Gentoo devs. Adding packages to
36 the tree was the principal concern, as opposed to maintaining existing
37 packages. QA considerations have since modified that policy slightly, and now
38 it is the package maintainers who should mark an x86 package stable. Of
39 course, that policy presumes that package maintainers are generally x86 devs,
40 which is slowly becoming less and less true.
41
42 This policy for x86 is quite different from how every other arch marks
43 packages stable. For the non-x86 archs, each arch has a specific "arch team"
44 which is responsible for moving packages from ``~arch`` to ``arch``, although
45 vapier notes that "arch teams generally defer to maintainers (and rightly so)
46 as to *when* newer versions should go stable." This approach has worked quite
47 well for the non-x86 archs, and this GLEP asserts that the same approach would
48 benefit x86 as well.
49
50 Specification
51 =============
52
53 Stabling guidelines for all archs
54 ---------------------------------
55
56 For a package to move to stable, the following guidelines must be met:
57
58 * The package has spent a reasonable amount of time in ``~arch`` first.
59 Thirty days is the usual figure, although this is clearly only a guideline.
60 For critical packages, a much longer duration is expected. For small
61 packages which have only minor changes between versions, a shorter period
62 is sometimes appropriate.
63 * The package must not have any non-``arch`` dependencies.
64 * The package must not have any severe outstanding bugs or issues.
65 * The package must be widely tested.
66 * If the package is a library, it should be known not to break any package
67 which depends upon it.
68 * The relevant ``arch`` team must agree to it.
69
70 x86 arch team
71 -------------
72
73 A robust x86 arch team needs to be created. The x86@gentoo.org alias already
74 exists, and it merely needs to be used. This team, with the aid of potential
75 non-dev ``arch testers``, has the responsibility of stabling all x86 packages.
76 Current x86 devs who wish to mark their own packages stable must therefore
77 either be members of or make individual arrangements with the x86 arch team.
78
79
80 Rationale
81 =========
82
83 There will be a considerable one-time cost involved in establishing a robust
84 x86 arch team--a good number of bodies (the amd64 atch team has 19 active devs
85 and 12 active non-dev arch testers) need to be recruited to be part of the
86 new arch team, and convincing devs that it is in their best interests to work
87 in a new fashion is likely to be even harder. Certainly the benefit of
88 consistency between the various archs is obvious, but is it worth the cost
89 involved? Here are the arguments for enduring the pain involved:
90
91 * Over time, x86 is likely to become a minority arch as 64-bit systems
92 become the norm. The implicit assumptions that underly the current
93 system (that most devs, users, and package maintainers use x86)
94 will become increasingly less valid.
95 * Markedly improved QA for x86. Assuming that the author's own is
96 behavior is representative, most x86 devs run ``~x86`` systems.
97 Thus, the assumption that devs are good ``x86`` testers is not really
98 valid. One obvious consequence is that packages tend to languish in
99 ``~x86`` for a very long time, since x86 devs running ``~x86`` have little
100 cause to notice that a package has not been marked stable. The much larger
101 effect, though, is that it is rare for ``x86`` packages to be stabled in
102 the context of a full ``x86`` tree, so the big picture of a stable
103 *system*, not just a stable package, is lost. This approach of stabling
104 in the context of a full stable ``arch`` tree, it has been argued_, is
105 the fundamental reason why the non-x86 archs have notably better QA
106 than does the x86 arch.
107
108 .. _argued: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.gentoo.devel/30369
109
110 Implementation
111 ==============
112
113 Creation of a robust x86 team is already underway. The more vital step
114 is the official change in policy, along with a sustained effort to get
115 existing x86 devs to go along with it.
116
117 Alternative Ideas
118 =================
119
120 Stuart_ has suggested the creation of a new arch keyword: "[-]maint", which
121 would exist in tandem with the normal arch keywords, thereby making the
122 package maintainer's intention explicit. Ciaranm has responded that by
123 definition a package in ``~arch`` is a candidate for ``arch``, so a package's
124 mere presence in the tree (without being in ``package.mask``) should indicate
125 the package maintainer's intention. There was a fair bit of discussion about
126 whether the idea should be a "maint" keyword, or named something else, or an
127 entirely different variable, etcetera, but the basic gist didn't change much.
128
129 Jstubbs notes that it could be a very good idea if all non-arch devs worked in
130 overlays, but that new portage (gensync) support would be needed to make it
131 truly viable. Stuart pointed out that php5 support was handled just that way.
132 One author's view is that this approach would make the "package in ``~arch``
133 means that it's a de-facto candidate for ``arch``" interpretation even more
134 valid.
135
136 Ciaranm and weeve have noted that it is occasionally necessary for arch teams
137 to override a package maintainer when it comes to stabling a package. Stuart
138 has asserted that in those cases the arch team should be willing to take on
139 the support burden for that package.
140
141 .. _Stuart: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.gentoo.devel/31060
142
143 Backwards Compatibility
144 =======================
145
146 Not really an issue here.
147
148
149 Copyright
150 =========
151
152 This document has been placed in the public domain.

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