[Sugar-devel] [SoaS] SOAS-3: Final Activity List - Attention needed!
mel at melchua.com
Tue May 4 20:45:17 EDT 2010
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
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
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
So we're already stuck with an out-of-date Activity with untested code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.
(mchua on IRC)
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