Automake maintenance (was: Re: [PATCH v3] new option: object-shortname)

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Automake maintenance (was: Re: [PATCH v3] new option: object-shortname)

Stefano Lattarini
Hi Thomas, everyone (in particular Karl Berry, who I'm +cc'ing explicitly).

Here come the 2 cents from the former maintainer (that is, me :-) ...

On Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 1:04 PM, Thomas Martitz <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Am 22.12.2016 um 19:20 schrieb Paul Eggert:
>>
>> On 12/22/2016 06:38 AM, Thomas Martitz wrote:
>>>
>>> this is one more attempt to get my patch reviewed. Can I assist in any
>>> way?
>>
>>
>> Well, what we really need is an Automake maintainer, to do this sort of
>> review work. Is that something you'd be willing to do (and be qualified
>> for)? It's not a job to be undertaken lightly, of course.
>>
>
> What would qualify me? I've touched Automake sources very lightly so far and
> I'm far from being a perl expert.
>
I think that your interest in the project and willingness (and patience) to see
you work integrated might be enough to start your involvement. And the fact
that the absence of a maintainer is seriously hampering your progresses
could be enough to motivate you to step in as maintainer, maybe in an sort
of "ad-interim mode" at first, to see how things work out for you. Having a
"tentative" or "temporary" maintainer is still far batter than having no
current nor prospective maintainer IMHO.

Also, keep in mind that the Automake community was much more active
and vibrant when I was acting as a maintainer (even in the period where
I was basically only keeping the project in maintenance mode, before I
fully disappeared). Maybe the presence of a new maintainer would
galvanize it back into activity? Several once-active members actually
did depend on Automake for their ${DAYJOB}, so they might find time
to help you gather experience and insights to fully step up in the
maintainer role.

> I also don't know which direction Automake should take, I have no vision,
> so I couldn't really do anything more than operate in maintenance mode.
>
The "PLANS" subdirectory in the Automake git repo contains some high-level
description of my past plans about the project, including their current progress
and status: <http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/automake.git/tree/PLANS>.
Perhaps not as detailed as one would like, but a decent starting point.

Also, you'd want to be aware of he ng/master branch contains experimental
work on Automake-NG, a non-backward-compatible fork that aims at
generating Makefiles targeting only GNU make, therefore reducing size and
complexity, and offering new features (that depends on capabilities that
only GNU make posses).
My hope was that such a fork could eventually fully replace Automake in a
not-so-distant future (given the high portability and widespread availability
GNU make enjoys nowadays).

The best description of the Automake-NG fork (with reference to its
history) is probably in the README of its Git branch:
  <http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/automake.git/tree/README?h=ng/master>
The main differences and incompatibilities with the mainline Automake
implementation are described in details in the "NG-NEWS" file:
  <http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/automake.git/tree/NG-NEWS?h=ng/master>

Of course, if you decide to only operate in "maintenance mode", the above
would be mostly moot. And if you decide to step up as a more active
maintainer, you'd also got to decide which ones of my plans and directions
to actually to honor, and which to ditch in favor of your own plans and
vision. With great responsibility comes great power (pun intended ;-)

> On the other hand, any maintainer is better than no maintainer.
>
Absolutely! Even just having someone operating in maintenance mode
would be far better than the current status, in which even the most basic
patches, typofixes and bug reports get ignored.

> Since my dayjob depends on Automake I could probably devote some
> small but fixed amount of time to Automake maintenance.
>
> Best regards.
>

Thank you for your interest and patience.

Cheers,
    Stefano

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Re: Automake maintenance (was: Re: [PATCH v3] new option: object-shortname)

Karl Berry
1. I'm no longer involved with GNU infrastructure work at all.  (Write
[hidden email] to reach the people doing that stuff now, primarily
Brandon Invergo.)  But I will comment anyway.

2. Jim (Meyering) is currently the only active maintainer of Automake.
Given that he is also responsible for numerous other packages, I imagine
he would welcome anyone coming forward.

3. As an Automake user, all I can say is that I dearly, ardently,
fervently, hope changes that will be made, by any maintainer, extremely
cautiously. The long-term stability and compatibility of Automake (and
Autoconf and M4) is, in my opinion, a primary reason why it has
succeeded to the extent it has.

4. I have nothing against requiring GNU make, per se, as long as there's
a decent chance of existing .ac/.am files continuing to work. Looking at
NG-NEWS, I think that is true.

Happy hacking,
Karl

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Re: Automake maintenance (was: Re: [PATCH v3] new option: object-shortname)

Thomas Martitz
In reply to this post by Stefano Lattarini
Am 03.01.2017 um 21:24 schrieb Stefano Lattarini:

>
>> On the other hand, any maintainer is better than no maintainer.
>>
> Absolutely! Even just having someone operating in maintenance mode
> would be far better than the current status, in which even the most basic
> patches, typofixes and bug reports get ignored.
>
>> Since my dayjob depends on Automake I could probably devote some
>> small but fixed amount of time to Automake maintenance.
>>
>> Best regards.
>>
>
> Thank you for your interest and patience.
>
> Cheers,
>     Stefano
>

Okay. So I'm wondering about two more things:

1) What implications does it have to be a maintainer of a GNU package.
I'm not otherwise connected to GNU. I have completed the copyright
paperwork for this patch. What other implications or requirements are there?

2) How do you make releases? (preparations in git, where/how to upload
the tarball, signing the tarball)

If you think I'm qualified I can try become the maintainer, but please
don't expect lots of new features any time, since I'd be operating
mostly in bare maintenance mode (and I haven't seen the majority of the
code base yet).

Best regards.

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Re: Automake maintenance

Mathieu Lirzin
Hi,

Thomas Martitz <[hidden email]> writes:

> Am 03.01.2017 um 21:24 schrieb Stefano Lattarini:
>>
>>> On the other hand, any maintainer is better than no maintainer.
>>>
>> Absolutely! Even just having someone operating in maintenance mode
>> would be far better than the current status, in which even the most basic
>> patches, typofixes and bug reports get ignored.
>>
>>> Since my dayjob depends on Automake I could probably devote some
>>> small but fixed amount of time to Automake maintenance.
>>>
>>> Best regards.
>>>
>>
>> Thank you for your interest and patience.
>>
>> Cheers,
>>     Stefano
>>
>
> Okay. So I'm wondering about two more things:
>
> 1) What implications does it have to be a maintainer of a GNU
> package. I'm not otherwise connected to GNU. I have completed the
> copyright paperwork for this patch. What other implications or
> requirements are there?
>
> 2) How do you make releases? (preparations in git, where/how to upload
> the tarball, signing the tarball)

Here is a quick introduction for new maintainer:

  https://www.gnu.org/software/maintainer-tips

The following link extensively document most of the questions you might
have regarding GNU and the release process:

  https://www.gnu.org/prep/maintain/maintain.html

For Automake specific release process, you can take a look at HACKING in
the repo.

Best regards.

--
Mathieu Lirzin
GPG: F2A3 8D7E EB2B 6640 5761  070D 0ADE E100 9460 4D37