[maemo-developers] QA process = bug fixing disincentive?

From: Jeremiah Foster jeremiah at jeremiahfoster.com
Date: Thu Nov 12 16:33:22 EET 2009
On Nov 12, 2009, at 4:50, Graham Cobb wrote:

> On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 04:29:55PM +0200, Marius Vollmer wrote:
>> ext Thomas Perl <th.perl at gmail.com> writes:
>>> The following is a rant about XB-Maemo-Upgrade-Description
>>> with some suggestions for improvement...
>> Yeah, as soon as I 'invented' it, I could see how it is not going to
>> work very well.  I actually think it is best to ignore this field.
> Actually, I disagree.  I don't see this field as being anything like a
> changelog.  It is an alternative description to display to someone who
> already has the program installed and hence, probably, already knows what it
> does any why they should install it but does not know whether they should
> bother to install this particular release.
> So, for a security update it would contain text something like:
> This is an important security update that should be installed as soon as
> possible.

This is what the changelog was designed for. The control file should not be for messages but rather more like a compiled file that just happens to be text, users should not be reading it. According to debian policy source package control files only have five _mandatory_ fields. This means it is very unlikely that any X-* random header we invent will be used upstream or even downstream, and we are encouraging non-standard control files which may make Mer do non-standard stuff etc. We want compatibility across projects, therefor compatibility of control files across projects. I.e. a package built on Mempis should 'just work' on Maemo, Ubuntu, etc. Bunches of header files in the control file pollutes that namespace and makes compatibility harder, let's use the changelog.

> For beta-testing releases (releases that will never be promoted beyond
> extras-testing) I do use it to describe the user-visible changes since the
> last full release, including bug numbers fo fixed bugs.  However, for real
> releases (which will get promoted into Extras) I use it to give a general
> view of the release.  For example, for a (fictional) 2.7.4 release, the text might
> read:
> This update contains many bug fixes since version 2.7, particularly in
> import and export capabilities. The only change since 2.7.3 is a fix to
> Edit menu handling in portrait mode.
>>> My suggestion is to either use the Debian changelog, or if this sounds
>>> too "technical" for the end user, agree on some way to mark
>>> "user-relevant" changes in the Debian changelog (by using "USER:" as a
>>> prefix for a one-line summary or by having a convention of having the
>>> first entry in the Debian changelog be a user-friendly summary of all
>>> changes) and then parse the changelog and display all user-relevant
>>> changes in the AppMgr.
>> Yes, we pretty much have to have a full list of changes and the
>> Application manager then can display the relevant ones.  The
>> apt-listchanges program does this for Debian.
> But the audiences are completely different.  changelog's are not
> documentation.

They are documentation. Documentation for the builders of the software.

>  Just as the header file is not suitable user documentation,
> changelogs are not suitable upgrade documentation.  

I don't agree actually.

> The user description has
> to answer the question "why should I install this", the changelog has to
> answer the question "what has changed" -- the answers are related but are
> not the same and cannot be generated form the same source.  Particularly as
> the descriptions have to be read in a specific layout in the AppMgr, which
> is much better suited to a paragraph of natural language text than a
> detailed list.  And don't forget the requirements of translation as well.

Well if HAM has a little slug saying "Changed frobulation on foo: fixes security hole." that can come from the changelog just as well as the control file, perhaps more easily.
> Keep the upgrade description.  If some people want to generate it
> automatically from their changelogs that is fine -- I can imagine an
> mh-generateupdatedescfromchangelog program which can be called from
> debian/rules.  But don't do it automatically.

I actually think this method has some potential.

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