[Dev] Goals/direction for the coming year

fauno fauno at endefensadelsl.org
Fri Mar 31 14:03:39 GMT 2017

Luke Shumaker <lukeshu at lukeshu.com> writes:

> Hi guys,
> I though we should maybe have a conversation about where we want
> Parabola to go.  What goals we have.
> 1 year is an arbitrary length of time that is long enough to
> accomplish bigish things, but is still short-ish term.


> These are things burning a whole in my head
>  - Reproducible builds


>    As far as enforcing reproducible builds (which would be the *very*
>    last step), I was thinking that it should require the package to be
>    built 3 different times: 2 by build servers, and once by a human.

does it involve building three autonomous toolchains from scratch? :P

>  - Build server

it's in the works

>  - Code reviews
>    So this one is tricky.  It requires community buy-in.  I'd love to
>    see "mandatory" code reviews on every code and infrastructure
>    change we can viably do that for.  This is NOT primarily to catch
>    mistakes.  This is more to make sure that at least 2 humans know
>    about every change that is made.
>    This is about documenting changes, and spreading knowledge through
>    the community of developers.  This is not about getting a rubber
>    stamp saying "lgtm".
>    I'm not sure what the tooling around this should look like.

for infrastructure, at least a way to review changes after the fact.  it
would be interesting to experiment with public configuration (minus
secrets such as session keys, privkeys of all sorts, etc) so /etc gets
pushed to our public repos, or something built publicly is pushed to

i'm not keen on puppet/ansible/etc but i do think infrastructure needs
to be reproducible, so the next urgent server change doesn't take two
weeks of our time (which i don't have much lately as you know so i can't
help though i'd like to)

>  - Better bug tracker 
>    In the last 2 years, I've opposed all proposals to switch bug
>    trackers.  Not because I like our tracker.  I was tired of change.
>    Our current tracker is the 4th tracker the project has had in the 6
>    years I've been with the project.
>    I don't want churn.  I don't want "let's try X", only for us to
>    decide X is bad a couple months or a year later.  I want a good
>    discussion first.  I want this to be a carefully considered
>    decision.

my fault :(

>    Our tracker is bad.  Maybe the problem is Redmine, maybe the
>    problem is how we have Redmine configured.  It's hard for users to
>    report bugs.  It's hard for potential contributors to find simple
>    bugs to get started with.  And I don't think any of the current
>    devs like it.  I think everyone who has opposed a change have
>    opposed it for the same reason I have.

i'm thinking github's issue tracker is simple and featureful enough to
be usable by anyone, but of course we won't use that.  gitlab is similar
and you can also reply by email, but it's very heavy on resources and,
at least on the instance i run for work, fairly unstable.  i don't know
of any issue tracker similar to git{hub,lab}'s that isn't integrated to
a vcs.

there's autonomous gitlab servers around, we could ask for an account on
0xacab.org for instance.  it's run by riseup.net people.

were you thinking of any others?  based on what i said, the features i'd
like to see on an issue tracker are:

* minimalistic interface: just the bare needs, title, summary, comments,
  tags and status

* reply by email: i don't want to have to go look at the issue tracker
  on a browser, log in, etc if i can receive updates via email and
  quickly reply from there

>    I'm not sure that we want to participate in Google Summer of Code,
>    but today at LibrePlanet, I heard a very compelling argument from
>    Tom Callaway that structuring your stuff such as to be eligible for
>    GSoC, is a good way inviting people to be involved.  I was
>    persuaded.

what would this entail?

>    Now, I think that our community does a better job of turning users
>    into devs than most other communities.  I feel like if you hang out
>    on IRC long enough you eventually become a committer.  But many
>    users won't hang out on IRC.  A user who doesn't hang out on IRC
>    should be able to make a "drive-by" bug report or patch, and I
>    don't feel like that's happening.

this should be an item!

- Parabola Hackers

for years we haven't had a clear policy on who and how can become a
parabola hacker and i think the unofficial documentation[0] isn't really
in use[1].  by looking at its history[2] it never was a live document
though it tries to resume the common sense:  you're welcome to make
friends and send some patches!

i've been seeing random emails saying "here's my pubkey" on this list,
where i just assume someone told these people to do it, but then there's
no follow up from another parabola hacker.  it makes me think it's
written down somewhere and people just tries it out.

i'd like to see more drive-by patches, but also as a way to become a
parabola hacker and expand more than the tiny set of people doing
everyday stuff.  i know i burned out a few years back, i'm happily
surprised other hackers haven't, but i don't like the overall situation
where few people does a lot a things and no one knows exactly who does
what or has access to.

a policy we stablished on another group i participate is for new people
to have a "shadow", a sort of sponsor, one or two hackers that can show
you the ropes, are ready to be queried when you're in doubt on how to do
something and maybe ask you to do things (delegation is really
important!).  we also have irregular get togethers to have beers and
just chat, but i don't see it happening here :P

having said this, i don't think we have to obsess over numbers, booming
can be very damaging to a community as great as this :)

- Donations

i think my term as parabola delegate towards ceata has ended a while
ago.  do we want to review this?  i'm happy to keep doing it, since its
the only regular task i can contribute to lately.

tiberiu has been really helpful and clear on what ceata can and can't do
for us, also dedicating a lot of time to keep our books, reading and
replying emails, making recommendations and having parabola in mind :)

i don't know if you're monitoring the donations page[3] but we're having
a small but steady inflow, some people are even donating regularly!

- Wiki

is it alive?


[0]: https://wiki.parabola.nu/How_to_become_a_Parabola_hacker
[1]: https://wiki.parabola.nu/Special:WhatLinksHere/How_to_become_a_Parabola_hacker
[2]: https://wiki.parabola.nu/index.php?title=How_to_become_a_Parabola_hacker&action=history
[3]: https://wiki.parabola.nu/Donations

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