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Re: Maintainer overview

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Maintainer overview
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 11:11:28 +0900

Eli Zaretskii writes:

 > Maybe we should take a step back and talk about the goals of this
 > feature.  Is this just to be nice to those who don't read
 > bug-gnu-emacs and send them a notification?

The situation of Emacs (whose goal is to incorporate all the elisp
that's fit to execute[1]) is somewhat different -- always using
bug-gnu-emacs makes quite a bit of sense -- but XEmacs packages have
had their own bug addresses for over a decade.  The following use
cases are seen, from more common to less (in my recollection, I could
check if anybody cares):

1) Redirect to xemacs-beta (the closest we have to bug-gnu-emacs).
2) Redirect to an @xemacs.org alias of the package maintainer.  These
   are practically public as they are easy to guess.
3) Redirect to a public email address of the package maintainer.
4) Redirect to a mailing list dedicated to the package.
5) Redirect to a private email address of the package maintainer.

(Here "public" means an address the user is willing to have exposed in
ML archives and the like.  "Private" means the user expects the
address to be known only to specified correspondents and their MTAs.)

The maintenance burden is small (for us; we own the alias file for
xemacs.org, I don't know if that would be the same in GNU or if you'd
have to ask for service from Savannah); about an hour to set up and
test example aliases, another two hours to create the original list of
about 200 aliases for 50 or so packages (we actually have 4 aliases
per package, but that's probably overkill), including gathering
information from about 25 package maintainers about their preferences
(some do prefer to read about their packages on xemacs-beta); and
about 1 minute per new package or change of package maintainer, of
which there have probably been about 50 over the decade.

We do occasionally get complaints about stale aliases, but the former
maintainers are usually pretty sympathetic and relieved that the
change is done immediately.  Mostly stale aliases just revert to
"xemacs-beta", it's not difficult.

AFAIK most never got used very much, but a few were quite active
(mostly those that had courtesy @xemacs.org addresses before we
systematized the package addresses).  Given the low maintenance
burden, I think it is well worth it.  YMMV of course.

[1]  Don't take that too seriously, Eli, it's a play on The New York
Times's motto.

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