[Sugar-devel] [SoaS] SOAS-3: Final Activity List - Attention needed!

Simon Schampijer simon at schampijer.de
Wed May 5 02:19:23 EDT 2010

On 05/05/2010 02:45 AM, Mel Chua wrote:
> Regarding inclusion of the Get (Internet Archive) Books Activity -
> while the goals of including this Activity are admirable, it simply
> isn't going to happen for v.3.0 due to the timing of deadlines beyond
> our control. Let's take a look at why, and see what we can learn from
> this in terms of process improvement for next time.
> SoaS is a Fedora spin, which means we are tied to Fedora's release
> schedule (in exchange for being able to use their infrastructure,
> which dramatically improves the sustainability of the engineering
> workload). For the upcoming (Mirabelle v.3.0) release, the schedule in
> question is at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/13/Schedule.
> You'll note that Final Freeze
> (http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/13/Schedule) is today, May
> 4th, 2010, and that this freeze means that "no changes are allowed to
> any packages." Activities in SoaS are shipped as packages, which means
> that the version of the Get Books Activity in the Fedora repositories
> as of approximately 3.5 hours from now (midnight EDT) would be the
> final version of that Activity we shipped with this release.
> The most recent development version of the Get Books Activity is v5,
> from December 9 of 2009.
> (http://git.sugarlabs.org/projects/get-internet-archive-books) This is
> already a long time without an update. The version packaged in Fedora
> is even older - v3 from November 20, 2009
> (http://koji.fedoraproject.org/koji/packageinfo?packageID=9544). We
> don't know how well the 11/20 version works, and 3 hours is simply not
> enough time to update the package to the 12/9 version (and we don't
> know how well that works either, nor do we have sufficient time to
> find out).
> This is also not the activity author's fault, but simply a matter of
> fact caused by a lack of capacity to help keep these packages up to
> date in Fedora. We'd love help with this for the next release, and
> it's something we'd like to discuss during our v.3.0 reflection
> discussion (more on this coming soon - we're thinking of doing this on
> IRC on June 1st, well after the release has shipped and the initial
> wave of downloads has died down). But right now, time is tight, and
> the fact of the matter is that we simply don't have time to make this
> update.
> So we're already stuck with an out-of-date Activity with untested code
> of unknown status if we choose to ship the code at all. That choice -
> to ship or not to ship - must also be made within the next 3 hours.
> This is because the freeze also applies to the kickstart files that
> control the list of Activities included in v.3.0 Mirabelle by default.
> This means that after midnight EDT, we would not be able to change our
> minds about removing an Activity from the build that ships - if we
> were later to find a bug in the Activity, we're stuck with that bug in
> the release for 6 months.
> If, within the next 3 hours, someone can repackage and thoroughly test
> (in a publicly documented fashion) Get (Internet Archive) Books and
> find Peter or Sebastian - who have been up late working on this for
> the past few nights (it's 2:30AM for them right now as I write this,
> and I'm hoping they're both asleep) to take the risk of updating the
> kickstart file to include the Activity, then the Activity will ship.
> If not, then we simply can't do it.
> Again, this is the case for v.3.0 Mirabelle - but it does not have to
> be the case for the next version, which will come out in 6 months,
> again following the Fedora release cycle. It's the first time we've
> released SoaS as a Fedora Spin, and while this has been overall a
> positive thing in terms of reliability of the product and
> sustainability of the workload, there are certainly things we could
> have (on all sides) done better with this process and the
> communications around it. We'd like to invite everyone to join us to
> take a long, hard look at how we can do better for v.4.0 - and perhaps
> we'll start by seeing how we can avoid this situation next time by
> making sure it's clear what people need to do in order to see
> Activities they care about ship in SoaS.
> I know people may be disappointed by the situation, but this is the
> situation that we have, and we can work together to make sure that
> nobody is going to be surprised next time.
> Questions? Comments? Please let me know - I'll be up and
> intermittently working on SoaS stuff 'till midnight EDT when the
> freeze hits, though I'm going to get some dinner first.
> --Mel
> (mchua on IRC)

Thanks Mel for writing this explanation. Can't hurt to repeat the 
process and the consequences many times :) Understanding a process and 
working well with it takes time, that why it is as well fruitful to not 
change processes each time. I hope with time those releases will get 
less and less painful for the people involved.

Thanks to the people that are tackling these issues,

PS: Btw, +1 for the practice of reflecting about the release process and 
how one can enhance it. I think that is very important.

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