F22 System Wide Change: Legacy implementations of the Java platform in Fedora

Mario Torre neugens at redhat.com
Thu Feb 26 14:59:35 UTC 2015

On Tue, 2015-02-24 at 18:22 +0100, Mikolaj Izdebski wrote:
> On 02/24/2015 05:21 PM, Mario Torre wrote:
> > On Tue, 2015-02-24 at 15:37 +0100, Mikolaj Izdebski wrote:
> >> On 02/24/2015 02:15 PM, Jiri Vanek wrote:
> >>> On 02/24/2015 12:43 PM, Mikolaj Izdebski wrote:
> >>>> I am against official guidelines or policy for legacy JDK packages. I
> >>>> don't think that any such policy is needed and it would only encourage
> >>>> adoption of old packages for which there might be no security updates.
> >>>
> >>> Well thats the point - people are calling for them. And wont to maintain
> >>> them with this risk.
> >>
> >> I thought that the point of this change proposal was "enabling community
> >> to maintain legacy JDKs", not encouraging people to package them without
> >> good reason or without involvement to truly maintaining them. Packaging
> >> older JDKs is *already* possible, so IMHO this change accomplishes
> >> nothing but showing people how they can dump old, unmaintained software
> >> into Fedora.
> > 
> > Well, in this case it would not be un-maintained, the Fedora package
> > would *not* be maintained *by us* (the Red Hat Java Team) indeed, but we
> > are still actively contributing to the upstream software in its various
> > versions. While you as a packager cannot specifically count on that,
> > there's still a level of confidence that the base software won't be
> > abandoned any time soon. And even when we will stop supporting those
> > older versions, the community will take over if there is a need for
> > that, exactly like we have done ourselves before.
> > 
> > Indeed, there's an overhead for the downstream maintainers, we may need
> > to drop specific version of OpenJDK, or skip a release, or do other
> > funny things and the Fedora maintainers will have to adapt, but this is
> > no different than usual I believe. Realistically, we are so conservative
> > with older JDKs that I doubt this will ever really be an issue.
> Correct me if I am wrong, but in my understanding maintaining JDK
> package requires a lot of ongoing work (including obtaining and applying
> patches, running TCK, pushing updates in timely manner and so on). JDK
> maintainers should know this and I'm assuming that the amount of
> required work is the main reason for them not wanting to maintain older
> JDKs.
> The work required to add old JDK package to Fedora is relatively small
> compared to ongoing maintenance work. Someone willing to truly maintain
> JDK in Fedora should have knowledge about JDK packaging and they
> shouldn't have problem finding time to come up with a working solution,
> proposing and discussing it.

Indeed, but don't underestimate this "relatively", which is the main
reason why *we* won't do that.

> If you make the process of adding legacy JDKs to Fedora too easy then
> someone without enough time and required knowledge will surely do that
> and we may easily end with unmaintained package. I'd rather not have old
> JDK than have unmaintained JDK with security holes.

I don't see how giving proper rules means making something like that
"easy". The fact is that making things artificially complicated just to
scare off people from doing them doesn't really match with my view of
Freedom. I think instead that rules, however complex for the matter at
hand, should be crafted so that they impose the minimum possible

In this case, it's about giving users one thing they asked, which is
easy access to a previous version of Java. We can't afford maintaining
it as Java Team, but this doesn't mean we will refuse to help people
doing it. In fact, the exact existence of this very same discussion is
our attempt to pass the ball back to the Community.

> >> Package that doesn't pass review shouldn't be part of Fedora.
> > 
> > Well, if your goal is to reduce the user base of Fedora, I'm sure we can
> > talk about removing the JDK :)
> We can't sacrifice our basic principles (such as passing review) for the
> sake of increasing user base.

If you put the mean before the end, yes. But I hope you will agree with
me that one of those core principles *is* the Freedom of allowing users
to use such a critical tool as Java for their own daily reasons
*without* forcing them to switch distribution.

While I see your point that this can be extended to anything (why don't
we package an older Eclipse?) so we need to draw a line, I believe an
important core component like the JDK falls in that category of things
that should be allowed to coexist even a bit longer than originally

Now, the question is how to make this happens by preserving both quality
and freedom.


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