How bad were GNOME’s CVS build problems during 2.16.x?

GNOME CVS is supposed to be buildable and dogfoodable at all times. Those who were watching during the last release probably noticed that it was rarely true during that cycle. Lots of people pointed it out, and I argued a number of times that the problems were driving away potential contributors and cutting too much into developer time. I was surprised today to find that I didn’t quite have it right. It didn’t just cut into developer time, there was at least one case where module maintainers were prevented from working on their module! That sucks.

I hope that the new external dependencies handling fixes much of this. I wish I had more time to push things in this area to improve things further, but I’m handling all I can with various release-team tasks right now (also, sorry Carlo for not getting to your metacity patches yet…). I’m glad we have Frederic Peters around kicking butt by constantly monitoring for build problems and filing bugs and alerting people when issues come up. The Build Brigade also excites me; some great work has been done and if they can accomplish even a fraction of the listed tasks then things will improve a lot.

Some heroes in GNOME

GNOME has a lot of insufficiently praised heroes. There are far too many to name individually, which usually means that I don’t name any of them at all. But I thought I’d try to fix that a little bit and just mention a few with recent examples of their heroics:

  • Vincent and Kjartan. Both of them as well as I mentioned that we might be able to help with the GNOME 2.17.1 release but all of us had some tough time constraints; them more than me. No one committed firmly. So, all three of us felt responsible. Sadly, it meant that all three of us basically did 95% of the work of the release, duplicating a lot of effort before realizing that we had all done it separately. I happened to finish first and did the announcement, but they did as much work. While it’s kind of sad to see the unnecessary duplication, it’s inspiring seeing others make sacrifices for the community.
  • Joseph and Karsten (who need blogs). GARNOME really doesn’t get the press it deserves. These guys are filling a vital role and know the status of current tarball releases well enough that we in the release team tend to lean on them heavily.
  • Karsten (who still needs a blog) and Andre (who also needs a blog). Have you seen bugzilla in the last month or so? The rockingly new easy-to-use bug-buddy (thanks Fer and Olav!) has meant a skyrocket in number of bugs reported — nearly triple what we used to get not so long ago. That’s great in some ways, but also means tons of new work. These two have been keeping things sane.
  • Olav. GNOME Bugzilla rocks (especially in contrast to the current upstream version). Ultrazilla will continue that tradition. And upstream Bugzilla is going to benefit because of Olav’s heavy efforts to port our stuff upstream (an area that I have sadly neglected and have had difficulty finding time to do otherwise).

New addition

Sarah and Deborah are now home, and everyone is doing well; in fact, the hospital visit was only about half the normal length since things were going so well. Only have a few pictures so far, but the one that turned out best is the following one, where Rebecca (who is used to the role of little sister and is new to being a big sister as well) is holding Sarah, with a little help from grandma. Despite imperfect GIMP abilities and needing to google on red-eye removal tutorials, the picture turned out really well:

Another tweak to Bugzilla points

Quite a while ago, Behdad filed a bug about not counting reporting bugs that were later marked as duplicate, incomplete, invalid, notabug, or notgnome (actually, he didn’t include incomplete or invalid, I added those later). His description was a bit broken in that it sounded like he didn’t want closing bugs as such to count, but once we got things straightened out, it sounded like a good idea.

Now, even the most conscientious bug reporter is going to occasionally file a duplicate or invalid report. In fact, this change caused me to be one of the people who lost a point. But long term, it makes more sense to not reward mistakes (or worse, active bad behavior) so I think this will be a good change.

Hopefully this change won’t be accompanied with as many weird anomalies as the last one. (*fingers crossed*) If you do see any, though, let me know.

Bugzilla Points

Wow, people notice their points, and weird bugs that make them lose 10 of them (just because it’s on a log scale and 10 points represents the vast majority of their work…). When you work on stuff like boogle and often times on metacity, you have to pry feedback out of other people. But they’ll find you in bugzilla, IRC, or email if you have a bug that killed their hard earned score (especially when it “doesn’t affect anyone else”). Sorry about that everyone. Should all be fixed now. If you still see any problems, feel free to reopen bug 360707 and add a comment there.

New Toy

So, my machine situation just improved considerably late this last week. I got a nice Sun Ultra 20 in the mail from Sun, which is going to considerably improve my hacking situation at home.

I briefly tried out Solaris, but ran into a number of issues that I didn’t know how to fix. I was a bit impatient and since the manual said I’d have to reinstall to get a multiboot system anyway, I just replaced it with Linux. I made sure to leave some extra freespace, and part of that will be used for putting OpenSolaris back on it at some point. You Sun people on planet Gnome should expect some questions when I get around to it. :)

The fc6test3 x86_64 cds I downloaded and tried to install from gave me a kernel panic relatively early on in the install process. Doh! Still need to retry that and record a few more details so I can report it. So, I decided to go with i386…

Turns out that getting Rawhide installed (already had FC5 cds to do a basic install and wanted to use yum to update) was a tad messier than expected on the initial stages, then super smooth after that. The initial stages should have been just editing /etc/yum.repos.d/fedora*.repo to change some “enabled=” lines and then running a “yum update”. But, hal conflicted with the installed fc5 kernel, so I had to update the kernel separately. When I tried out the new kernel, I got a frozen system at boot. So I retried at runlevel one and found that manually switching to runlevel 3 showed lots of

security_compute_av: unrecognized class 57

messages. So, I updated any package looking at all related to selinux, then tried out the new kernel again. At that point it worked, so I removed the old kernel. At that point “yum update” worked, and everything has worked without a hitch so far since then. I was actually somewhat shocked since yum upgrades aren’t exactly well documented and seem less supported, and the fact that fc6 is still a few weeks from release; but it has been very smooth.

So, some stuff is up and running and I still definitely have a lot more messing around to do. But it also has allowed me to get some of the metacity patches reviewed (though I’ve got a ton left; there’s been tons submitted recently, particularly by Carlo Wood), and do some bugzilla work as well. All in all, a nice new fun toy. :)