Things we ought to do to improve our packaging

Matt Mackall mpm at selenic.com
Wed Aug 7 17:35:35 CDT 2013


On Wed, 2013-08-07 at 08:58 +0200, Dan Villiom Podlaski Christiansen
wrote:
> On 06/08/2013, at 21.01, Augie Fackler <raf at durin42.com> wrote:
> 
> > On Tue, Aug 06, 2013 at 01:53:34PM -0500, Matt Mackall wrote:
> >> [this discussion needs to be cross-posted]
> >> 
> >> We've got a few long-standing problems with our current packaging:
> >> 
> >> - lag official release
> >> - not automated
> >> - not reproduceable by third parties
> >> - not signed
> >> - lack nightly builds
> >> - notable missing platforms (RHEL)
> >> - not uniform in configuration
> >> 
> >> Our attitude to date has been "well, we're not really in charge of that,
> >> that's done unofficially by volunteers". I think we've reached a point
> >> where this needs to start changing.
> >> 
> >> In an ideal world, a release would work like this:
> >> 
> >> - I tag the release
> >> - I push it
> >> - Automated builders kick off on a bunch of VMs or hosts
> >> - Builders run stock makefile targets or scripts in tarball
> >> - Packages get signed
> >> - Packages get uploaded to one or more locations, including
> >> mercurial.selenic.com
> >> - Download links get updated
> >> 
> >> Importantly, this same process would also be used to produce automated
> >> nightly builds for testing and bug reporting and discovering packaging
> >> problems before release dates.
> >> 
> >> The job of packagers would thus shift from "(manually?) building and
> >> uploading binaries" to "making sure the committed build rules are
> >> correct and up-to-date".
> >> 
> >> I think this also needs to be inclusive of builds for packaging systems
> >> (Debian, Ubuntu, RHEL, Centos, Solaris, Pypi, etc.). These actually
> >> suffer from more or less the same problems even though the distribution
> >> model is different. So we should be building nightlies and release
> >> builds for these systems and be more directly responsible for quality
> >> and timeliness here as well.
> > 
> > This honestly sounds like a great improvement, given how stale the
> > packages for Ubuntu tend to be, and how some packagers took it upon
> > themselves in the past to enable all the extensions.
> 
> They still enable the full mergetools.rc list, though. This would be
> fine if it only listed helpful GUI tools or reasonably user-friendly
> commands line tools. However, it also includes vimdiff, with its
> rather steep learning curve…

This is indeed regrettable. However, the number of people that actually
want vimdiff is not the empty set, which means taking this out would be
a regression for _people already comfortable with our tool_, which is
much worse than having introduced vimdiff in the first place.

There's basically nothing we can do here other than documentation.

FYI, the folks at Facebook have come up with a nice script for GUI-less
systems that fires up $EDITOR at each set of conflict markers that is
arguably a better user experience than either vimdiff or emerge and
avoids the usual problems of manually editing after merge. After we get
some feedback on that, we'll probably drop it in contrib/.

All of this is actually pretty low on my concern list about packaging
which runs something like this:

- OS X
- lack of nightlies
- RHEL/Centos availability
- Debian/Ubuntu lag, lack of backports
- blah
- blah
- blah
- general discomfort with being unable to build on platform X in crisis
- general discomfort with having no official releases
- lack of signatures
- current distro config issues

-- 
Mathematics is the supreme nostalgia of our time.




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