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1 GLEP: 40
2 Title: Standardizing "arch" keywording across all archs.
3 Version: $Revision: 1.3 $
4 Last-Modified: $Date: 2005/11/13 17:16:50 $
5 Author: Grant Goodyear <g2boojum@gentoo.org>
6 Status: Final
7 Type: Standards Track
8 Content-Type: text/x-rst
9 Created: 3-Sep-2005
10 Post-History: 6-Sep-2005 15-Sep-2005 3-Sep-2006
11
12 Status
13 ======
14
15 Approved by the Gentoo Council on 15 September 2005. As of 20060903
16 we have a robust x86 arch team, so this GLEP is final
17
18 Credits
19 =======
20
21 This GLEP originated from a rather contentious discussion_ on gentoo-dev
22 about combining the x86 and amd64 keywords. This GLEP attempts to get at the
23 heart of that discontent. The proposed stable-keyword guidelines have been
24 lifted verbatim from `The Doc`_.
25
26 .. _discussion: http://tinyurl.com/bp859
27 .. _The Doc: http://dev.gentoo.org/~plasmaroo/devmanual
28
29 Abstract
30 ========
31
32 It is time for x86 to no longer be an exception to the standard
33 keywording guidelines. Thus, an x86 arch team should be responsible
34 for moving packages from ~x86 to x86.
35
36 Motivation
37 ==========
38
39 The original, informal x86 keywording policy, where almost any x86 dev (which
40 were the vast majority of devs) who used a package could mark it stable, arose
41 from a time when there were relatively few Gentoo devs. Adding packages to
42 the tree was the principal concern, as opposed to maintaining existing
43 packages. QA considerations have since modified that policy slightly, and now
44 it is the package maintainers who should mark an x86 package stable. Of
45 course, that policy presumes that package maintainers are generally x86 devs,
46 which is slowly becoming less and less true.
47
48 This policy for x86 is quite different from how every other arch marks
49 packages stable. For the non-x86 archs, each arch has a specific "arch team"
50 which is responsible for moving packages from ``~arch`` to ``arch``, although
51 vapier notes that "arch teams generally defer to maintainers (and rightly so)
52 as to *when* newer versions should go stable." This approach has worked quite
53 well for the non-x86 archs, and this GLEP asserts that the same approach would
54 benefit x86 as well.
55
56 Specification
57 =============
58
59 Stabling guidelines for all archs
60 ---------------------------------
61
62 For a package to move to stable, the following guidelines must be met:
63
64 * The package has spent a reasonable amount of time in ``~arch`` first.
65 Thirty days is the usual figure, although this is clearly only a guideline.
66 For critical packages, a much longer duration is expected. For small
67 packages which have only minor changes between versions, a shorter period
68 is sometimes appropriate.
69 * The package must not have any non-``arch`` dependencies.
70 * The package must not have any severe outstanding bugs or issues.
71 * The package must be widely tested.
72 * If the package is a library, it should be known not to break any package
73 which depends upon it.
74 * The relevant ``arch`` team must agree to it.
75
76 x86 arch team
77 -------------
78
79 A robust x86 arch team needs to be created. The x86@gentoo.org alias already
80 exists, and it merely needs to be used. This team, with the aid of potential
81 non-dev ``arch testers``, has the responsibility of stabling all x86 packages.
82 Current x86 devs who wish to mark their own packages stable must therefore
83 either be members of or make individual arrangements with the x86 arch team.
84
85
86 Rationale
87 =========
88
89 There will be a considerable one-time cost involved in establishing a robust
90 x86 arch team--a good number of bodies (the amd64 arch team has 19 active devs
91 and 12 active non-dev arch testers) need to be recruited to be part of the
92 new arch team, and convincing devs that it is in their best interests to work
93 in a new fashion is likely to be even harder. Certainly the benefit of
94 consistency between the various archs is obvious, but is it worth the cost
95 involved? Here are the arguments for enduring the pain involved:
96
97 * Over time, x86 is likely to become a minority arch as 64-bit systems
98 become the norm. The implicit assumptions that underly the current
99 system (that most devs, users, and package maintainers use x86)
100 will become increasingly less valid.
101 * Markedly improved QA for x86. Assuming that the author's own is
102 behavior is representative, most x86 devs run ``~x86`` systems.
103 Thus, the assumption that devs are good ``x86`` testers is not really
104 valid. One obvious consequence is that packages tend to languish in
105 ``~x86`` for a very long time, since x86 devs running ``~x86`` have little
106 cause to notice that a package has not been marked stable. The much larger
107 effect, though, is that it is rare for ``x86`` packages to be stabled in
108 the context of a full ``x86`` tree, so the big picture of a stable
109 *system*, not just a stable package, is lost. This approach of stabling
110 in the context of a full stable ``arch`` tree, it has been argued_, is
111 the fundamental reason why the non-x86 archs have notably better QA
112 than does the x86 arch.
113
114 .. _argued: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.gentoo.devel/30369
115
116 Implementation
117 ==============
118
119 Creation of a robust x86 team is already underway. The more vital step
120 is the official change in policy, along with a sustained effort to get
121 existing x86 devs to go along with it.
122
123 Alternative Ideas
124 =================
125
126 Stuart_ has suggested the creation of a new arch keyword: "[-]maint", which
127 would exist in tandem with the normal arch keywords, thereby making the
128 package maintainer's intention explicit. Ciaranm has responded that by
129 definition a package in ``~arch`` is a candidate for ``arch``, so a package's
130 mere presence in the tree (without being in ``package.mask``) should indicate
131 the package maintainer's intention. There was a fair bit of discussion about
132 whether the idea should be a "maint" keyword, or named something else, or an
133 entirely different variable, etcetera, but the basic gist didn't change much.
134
135 Jstubbs notes that it could be a very good idea if all non-arch devs worked in
136 overlays, but that new portage (gensync) support would be needed to make it
137 truly viable. Stuart pointed out that php5 support was handled just that way.
138 One author's view is that this approach would make the "package in ``~arch``
139 means that it's a de-facto candidate for ``arch``" interpretation even more
140 valid.
141
142 Ciaranm and weeve have noted that it is occasionally necessary for arch teams
143 to override a package maintainer when it comes to stabling a package. Stuart
144 has asserted that in those cases the arch team should be willing to take on
145 the support burden for that package.
146
147 .. _Stuart: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.gentoo.devel/31060
148
149 Backwards Compatibility
150 =======================
151
152 Not really an issue here.
153
154
155 Copyright
156 =========
157
158 This document has been placed in the public domain.

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