Debian Janitor: The Slow Trickle from Git Repositories to the Debian Archive

The Debian Janitor is an automated system that commits fixes for (minor) issues in Debian packages that can be fixed by software. It gradually started proposing merges in early December. The first set of changes sent out ran lintian-brush on sid packages maintained in Git. This post is part of a series about the progress of the Janitor.

Last week’s blog post documented how there are now over 30,000 lintian issues that have been fixed in git packaging repositories by the Janitor.

It's important to note that any fixes from the Janitor that make it into a Git packaging repository will also need to be uploaded to the Debian archive. This currently requires that a Debian packager clones the repository and builds and uploads the package.

Until a change makes it into the archive, users of Debian will unfortunately not see the benefits of improvements made by the Janitor.

82% of the 30,000 changes from the Janitor that have made it into a Git repository have not yet been uploaded, although changes do slowly trickle in as maintainers make other changes to packages and upload them along with the lintian fixes from the Janitor. This is not just true for changes from the Janitor, but for all sorts of other smaller improvements as well.

However, the process of cloning and building git repositories and uploading the resulting packages to the Debian archive is fairly time-consuming – and it’s probably not worth the time of developers to follow up every change from the Janitor with a labour-intensive upload to the archive.

It would be great if it was easier to trigger uploads from git commits. Projects like tag2upload will hopefully help, and make it more likely that changes end up in the Debian archive.

The majority packages do get at least one new source version upload per release, so most changes will eventually make it into the archive.

For more information about the Janitor's lintian-fixes efforts, see the landing page.

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