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Re: [linux-distros-dev] A bit of a reboot

On Friday 29 August 2008 21:06:02 Andrew Overholt wrote:

> Hi,


> As you all know, our project hasn't really been a shining example of

> output or participation. I'd like to change that. What follows are my

> thoughts. I'd appreciate comments/criticisms/ideas/whatever.


> Reasons for existence / Goals

> =============================

> We started the project after a few different distribution maintainers

> found that they were complaining about the same things (builds being

> difficult, lack of autotools support in CDT, package maintenance

> difficulties, etc.). The goals at the time were two-fold: 1) be a

> place for distributions to collaborate and 2) provide tools specific to

> Linux developers and packagers.


> Current status

> ==============

> We have some Linux-specific tools that are doing well: the ChangeLog

> plugin and the RPM specfile editor. Jeff Johnston has also told me that

> he plans on contributing his autotools plugins. There's also some

> renewed interest in the OProfile plugin which I'm hoping we'll see some

> patches for soon. So we're not doing *too* badly on providing tools.


> Unfortunately, little cross-distro collaboration has actually taken

> place. I'd like to think this is because we all have lots to deal with

> in real life and in our respective distros. What can do to improve

> here? Since we all fight the same battles with builds and stuff, it

> would be good to work together and not duplicate effort.


> I think we need to do a few things:


> 1. Make an update site for the tools we have.

Announcing releases on the list and at the eclipse plugins sites would help us get more users. I'll do some work in this area for the speceditor plugin after my vacation.

> 2. Have an actual release! Then we won't be the bad Eclipse project who

> never really followed the processes :)

> 3. Re-focus on our goals.


> To be honest, I think the tools half of our project is doing alright.

> We just need to follow some processes a bit more. It's the distro

> collaboration stuff that needs to be improved. I think the project that

> Ben Konrath started -- eclipse-build -- is a good place for this.

> Ideally we can get to the point where that project produces a buildable

> source tarball that all distros can use. We can probably aim for the

> Ganymede winter maintenance release. It will take care of the stuff we

> all do on top of the releng srcIncluded drops. Also, we can share our

> common methods of building non-SDK plugins. Scripts to run test suites

> are also a good place to work together.

Having something like ooobuild, would make packagers life easier.

In my thoughts we should try to:

1. Simplify the current build process - I'm dreaming for a single ant call.

The easiest way would be to make such build in linux-distros repo and whenever we've got some tested and working enhancement to the build process submitting them to the main repository.

2. Standartize the usage of system libraries.

Our build process should rely on the system librariest like icu4j, sat4j and etc. but to achieve this we should be able to find them on the distros we are supporting or we should define some requirements for the install places for this libs for the distros wanting to use eclipse-build.

3. Some patch management.

I know that we should try to keep the patches we are carrying low but there will always be issues and we would be forced to apply patches at least between bugfix version of the x.x.* versions of the platform. If we are fast enough we should be able to push the patch upstream for the next release of the platform. This would have the nice effect of keeping the patches at one place, so a packager shouldn't check the other distros' packages whether the problem is fixed already by someone else.

4. Standartize distros customization/branding - Nice to have.

Look at the ooobuild option --with-distro for more ideas. I would love to be able to take a generalized version of the fedora-eclipse feature and use it in Mandriva's Eclipse.

I'm not sure whether we've got the resources to achieve this or whether this is valuable for everyone but I just want to start the ball rolling with some more concrete ideas (most copied from ooobuild :)).


> We need to have a plan in place soon so I'll be working on something

> more formal than this email. I really welcome all feedback so please

> let me know whatever you're thinking -- even if it's "you're stupid" ;) .

I hope that the previous can be used as a basic plan for the distros-collaboration part of the project, which we should fill with details and manpower (I will try to help as much as possible). Building external plugins and running test suites will hopefully follow.


> Andrew

Alexander Kurtakov