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Re: Packager = Programmer?



Jeff Spaleta wrote:
> I would put it this way.... there should be an expectation that
> packagers are willing to learn programming skills relevant to the
> packages they are maintaining.  There's no proficiency level or
> anything like that.  But if you aren't interested in learning how to
> read and use python..you should probably not maintain a package that
> is heavily dependent on python. Those are the sort of personal choices
> that can turn the time you gift as a volunteer contribution to Fedora
> into a burden instead of having fun doing the work.
> 
> I personally do not maintain package for things that are written in
> languages I'm not interested in learning how to use. I avoid perl. I
> avoid java. I generally have no personal interest in developing or
> refining my ability to read or use either(but it seems like I won't be
> able to avoid the java trap for long as part of my day job). And as a
> result I don't try to maintain packages for either.

Well, it really depends on the package. Some packages need a lot of
attention, they constantly need fixing and upstream is non-responsive or
just introduces more bugs all the time. Maintaining such a package requires
knowing the language it's written in very well. On the other hand, I'm
maintaining ocaml-facile just fine with basically nonexistent OCaml skills
(because it's used by Kalzium to balance chemical reaction equations). I
guess I could figure out enough OCaml to fix issues if I had to (and I'm
sure the OCaml SIG can help me if I really can't figure out what's going
on), but so far I didn't have to change anything in the OCaml code. The
makefile needed fixing (but Debian already had a patch for that, so I
didn't have to write even that), but otherwise it just works. No open bugs.
Nor even closed ones except the ppc64 ExcludeArch tracking bug which I
opened because OCaml wasn't available on ppc64 (it now is). There also
haven't been any updates from upstream for ages, probably because there's
nothing to fix. So maintenance workload and required skills can vary a lot
from package to package.

        Kevin Kofler


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