Thu, 23 Sep 2004

ALSA packaging getting better

The observative Debian developers will have noticed that the Debian ALSA team hadn't been as good as usual at delivering new upstream versions a few days^H^H^H^Hweeks after it was released.

There were several reasons for this. The three team members (StevenK, ElectricElf and me) got busy in other fronts, and the bug count didn't stop going up. At one point, the BTS was too full of ALSA bugs for us to be able to handle it, which just added a bit more to the problem, because we never found time to sit down and do triage.

Also, when we started the Alioth project, SVN or Arch weren't available, so we went for a CVS setup which involved importing the upstream sources to CVS and then working on top of that. I never quite understood why we needed the whole sources in CVS, but as I never got involved in the import business, I was more or less ok with the setup. We would then use cvs-buildpackage to build the stuff, and it worked quite well.

The problems came when ElectricElf started to be busy and away from IRC. I dared not try to import the new upstream versions myself, as I had managed to break the import twice in the past (no, it's not so trivial), requiring Elf intervention to cleanup after me. StevenK more or less managed to do stuff, but when something went wrong, he also needed ElectricElf to look after the repo. In short, we were depending on the Elf, who was just too busy to do the stuff.

ALSA 1.0.6 was released over a month ago, and we hadn't tried seriously to update the packages until now, because nobody was stepping up to do the import stuff. So the three of us recently considered adding new blood to the ALSA group, and we asked Thomas Hood, who had been very helpful doing some BTS work on our bugs in the past, to join us.

The last week has seen new vitality in pkg-alsa activity thanks to him, but again the CVS issue was a showstopper. We managed to do more or less sane alsa-oss and alsa-utils uploads, but importing alsa-driver, which is always the bitch, failed again. Thomas and I agreed that the setup was way overegineered for a few packages that never touch the upstream sources directly anyway, as we use dpatch, and I considered switching to SVN. StevenK is an Arch dude though, and was reluctant. This morning, to my surprise, he told us we could try SVN so I rushed to import our stuff in.

The result is that after the quick and clean import of just our debian/ dirs into our new SVN repo, we've done 1.0.6 uploads of the alsa-foo packages in less than one day. And we've got more fixes on the way...

Hmm. This was a long way of saying "ALSA packaging moved to SVN". Procrastination is sometimes like this... :)

Manoj: sorry if I moaned about cvs-buildpackage before... nothing wrong with that, it's just our ex-setup which was quite inconvenient...