Sun, 28 Feb 2010

Tinyproxy 1.8

A while ago, I was asked to recompile Tinyproxy to enable transparent proxying support, which was not being compiled in etch's Debian package. As it tends to happen, once I got the source and looked into doing a quick rebuild with --enable-transparent-proxy, I noticed the package was in such a bad shape, that I couldn't just leave it like that, so I found myself doing a few more changes, which mostly involved updating the packaging so it didn't suck a lot, and splitting the Debian patches so things could be sent upstream or dropped when new versions appeared.

However, even if Ed had asked me to go ahead and take over the package, this was meant to be a one-day effort, and soon I had forgotten about Tinyproxy, except for the ocassional bug mail getting through the PTS. It also didn't help that Tinyproxy had been pretty much dead upstream for years.

So lately, a few bug reports were reporting a ∗gasp∗ new major Tinyproxy release, after 7 years of basically nothing. OMG, what do I see, there's a Git repo! And an upstream Bugzilla! Somehow, feeling I owed Ed a reply to his unanswered request, I went ahead and tagged tinyproxy 1.6.3-3.2 in collab-maint, and started working on the new version. Adding myself to Uploaders, and getting rid of the “make no unnecessary changes” vetto, I rewrote most of the packaging. And for a change, I looked for and found a #tinyproxy channel on IRC and told muks and obnox that the days of Tinyproxy's stay in the Debian/Ubuntu limbo were over.

They were happy to get a few bugs and patches forwareded upstream, and asked me why all of this hadn't happened before. Pitty is that a few longstanding issues were well known in Debian but not so obvious for the new upstream maintainers, and are present in 1.8.0. Hopefully all will be dealt with in 1.8.1 or the next major version. The lesson is: if you work on an apparently abandoned package, after cleaning the mess in your NMU, try to spend 15 more minutes trying to contact upstream (if available), pointing them at the patch tracker and our list of bugs: chances are many are still useful. Also, contact the Debian maintainer, and if they ask you to take over, at least post a RFA so someone else can.

If you're a Tinyproxy user, I'd be happy to hear if the current package in Debian unstable works for you. If you were having weird issues with 1.6.x, chances are 1.8 will fix them. The package can be installed on stable with no extra dependencies, so if you're feeling adventurous, go ahead and upgrade.