[Mageia-dev] Various proposals around backports and other media management

Buchan Milne bgmilne at multilinks.com
Wed Oct 6 00:06:41 CEST 2010

On Tuesday, 5 October 2010 19:46:45 Samuel Verschelde wrote:
> Hello to everyone on the list,
> As some people said in another thread, Mandriva's current media schema
> already gives the opportunity to : - install newer versions of software if
> needed (from backports media), - keep a stable system with only security
> fixes if needed (updates media, for servers or any workstation where
> stability counts more than being bleeding-edge)
> However, we can improve things around backports, updates, testing and debug
> media for the end user's benefit.
> I'd like to propose the following improvements if you think they would be
> good (and I'm ready to help make them happen) :
> - a section on the mageia website dedicated to package updates : what's new
> in security/bugfix updates, what's new in backports (aka version updates),
> ... with screen captures, description of what changed in this version,
> links to upstream websites, comments from users, focus on some
> applications... 

Please take into consideration features that might be beneficial to package 
maintainers as well. If you haven't yet, please look at e.g. Youri project, 
Sophie etc.

> Some user communities already did that for 3rd party
> repositories for Mandriva, and having it in a centralized and visible
> place would make backports more visible. How many users know that latest
> versions for wine, wesnoth (one of the best opensource games), vlc, and
> many other packages are already available in backports media for mandriva
> ? Today there is a changelog mailing list, but this is not for everyone.
> This would be more user-centric than packager-centric. I tried to improve
> backports visibility on the Mandriva forum, but without any automation it
> took an enormous amount of time to maintain :
> http://forum.mandriva.com/viewforum.php?f=123 (see threads beginning with
> "New Soft" or "Backport")

RSS feed or use of twitter by build system may be useful ....

> - add a "welcome" screen to rpmdrake, where people could choose between :
>  * Browse and install security / bugfix updates
>  * Browse and install new versions of software ("backports")
>  * Install new software
>  * Uninstall software
>  * Skip this newbie step and get me to the real stuff, I'll use the various
> options to do what I need Rpmdrake can also be enhanced to show for each
> package update whether it's a backport or a standard update. It's not easy
> currently (you have to dig into package details).

I would like a column for 'medium name' or so, which you could sort on ...

> - (the biggest part, but the one with most long term benefits I hope) add
> metadata to media to make urpmi more media-aware. Today, rpmdrake detects
> backports because the backports media have "backports" in their name.
> That's a (useful) hack, but we could do better. One solution could be to
> give metadata to each media : * release vs updates vs backports
>  * testing vs stable
>  * debug vs non-debug
> Combination of these "tags" would give the following media :
>     * main release (just like today's media)
>     * main updates
>     * main updates testing : for update candidates, this is our current
> "main testing" media * main backports
>     * main backports testing : for backports candidates (as someone who
> frequently does backports, I sometimes feel the lack for it) 

As long as it doesn't take the focus off the development release. In Mandriva, 
I think there were some uploads to backports before the upload to cooker, 
which can cause problems for users if not corrected.

> * main
> release debug...
>     * contrib...
>     * non-free...
> It may seem a lot of media, but in fact you have to think they all are only
> flavours of the main, contrib, non-free, and other media. We can think of
> a better presentation in UI tools that will in fact make them appear less
> cluttered than it is today :
> http://stormi.lautre.net/fichiers/mageia/media-configuration-proposal.ods
> In CLI, urpmi would default to using only release and updates media (which
> you could change in configuration if needed), and you could use other
> media with the following switches for example : --use-backports : enables
> all backports media
> --use-testing : enables all testing media
> --use-debug : enables all debug media

Well, using the 'name hack', for some time (since 2009.1?), users who have 
"default" repos should currently be able to use '--searchmedia Backports', '--
searchmedia Testing', '--searchmedia Debug' for the same purpose. (May require 
urpmi.update of the medium first).


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