Last week, we held a Fedora Packaging Workshop in Brno office of Red Hat. 16 participants showed up. Some of them were interested in just creating an RPM, some wanted to get their packages to Fedora and some were interested in creating RPMs for RHEL (we had quite a few participants from companies). I and four lecturers (Ondrej Vasik, Jaroslav Reznik, Stano Ochotnicky, Mirek Suchy) prepared an all-day intensive workshop.

But I don’t want to talk about the workshop in this blogpost. The workshop just made me wonder “do we really want new packagers?”. I often hear complaints in the community that the number of community packagers is decreasing and the Red Hat vs. community packagers ratio is not healthy. But I wonder if we’re doing (at least remotely) our best to get new packagers. We’ve already held several packaging workshops and most participants agreed that packaging for Fedora is a very complex thing, maybe unnecessarily complex. Documentation is outdated and scattered. There are tons of tools that are not integrated. And when we introduce COPRs we will even have more than one build system. And if someone is willing to go through all this, he hits the review process which is handled by Red Hat bugzilla which is not integrated with the rest, again. There are hundreds of review requests waiting and the lucky ones get the process done in months. There was one participant at the workshop who made a package of his tool for Fedora around Fedora 15 and never got it to Fedora. When you learn such a complex thing as packaging, get familiar with all the tools, it must be really frustrating not to make it all the way. And that guys was indeed frustrated.

So when someone starts complaining that the number of new packagers is decreasing and saying it must be a sign of decreasing number of people interested in Fedora, I will tell him to look at what new packagers have to through. In the time when other platforms are trying to make inclusion of new software, if not as easy as possible, at least as streamlined as possible, Fedora stands out and people are not willing to through all the hassle any more. But maybe we just don’t want and need new packagers…

About these ads