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

Aleksandar Kurtakov akurtako at redhat.com
Thu Feb 26 15:12:24 UTC 2015

----- Original Message -----
> From: "Mario Torre" <neugens at redhat.com>
> To: "Development discussions related to Fedora" <devel at lists.fedoraproject.org>
> Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2015 4:59:35 PM
> Subject: Re: F22 System Wide Change: Legacy implementations of the Java	platform in Fedora
> 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
> overhead.
> 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
> intended.
> Now, the question is how to make this happens by preserving both quality
> and freedom.

Adding exceptions for selected packages is definitively not the way to go.
I would agree with everyone that tries to make Fedora more open in general. Name yours or all of:
* Every packager can sponsor others (thus no sponsor level needed)
* Every packager can commit to every package (thus no proven packager needed)
* Name yours.

But adding exceptions per package whenever someone comes with a usecase is not improving the way the distribution works it just makes it more complicated by adding more and more rules/guidelines/exceptions/etc. so we end up with not a single person knowing what/when/where is allowed.
If somebody tries to open Fedora more and kill bureaucracy I would support him/her thousands of times, but I'll object adding exceptions to the overly complicated bureaucracy we already have. Hope that simplifies why the resistance.

Alexander Kurtakov
Red Hat Eclipse team

> Cheers,
> Mario
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