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Alioth is broken, and there is nobody around to fix it. Don't ask the remaining people who give it life support to implement fixes and changes. There may eventually be replacements for some parts of it, but that is not now (2017-08).

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What is Alioth?

Alioth.debian.org is a Debian server running FusionForge (used to be GForge). It's much like sourceforge or savannah but it's a service for Debian Developers and all other kinds of contributors together.

Benefits of registering an account on Alioth

An Alioth account provides several benefits:

News

Next update were in preparation at Alioth/News, but that is probably out of date now.

Deprecation of Alioth

Alioth was deprecated and will vanish with the wheezy EOL. Please read the hints below about specific Alioth services.

Note that content will *not* be automatically migrated to the new instance. As an effort to cleanup the old Alioth service, users will have to migrate the content on their own.

Git

The new ?GitLab-based service will only provide Git repositories hosting. Furthermore, users will need to migrate the repositories on their own - no automated, mass move is currently planned. This will help sort out outdated and unused repositories.

Other VCS

Since ?GitLab only supports Git, this means projects using other version control systems (VCS) like Mercurial, SVN or CVS will need to migrate. In May 2017, there were the following number of repositories on Alioth:

All the repositories not using git will either need to find another host or convert to git. Subversion, Mercurial and Bazaar repositories can be easily converted to git using the official documentation. Darcs repositories can also easily be converted. Finally, poor old CVS and Arch can *also* be converted using the git cvsimport and archimport commands.

Issue trackers

?GitLab has excellent issue trackers. Like Git repositories, content will not be automatically migrated, however.

Shell service

While Alioth currently allows members to login on the machine through a shell (SSH), this will not be allowed on the new server, other than to interoperate with Git repositories as defined by the gitlab-shell.

Forums

Forums have no direct equivalent in ?GitLab-CE. ?GitLab-EE has this thing called Service Desk that is somewhat similar, but ?GitLab use both an issue tracker and a Discourse instance for that purpose.

It is suggested that people use mailing lists, ?GitLab issue trackers or other services to replace forums, which will be completely shutdown when Alioth is decomissionned.

Web pages and documentation

GitLab pages provides an equivalent functionality to the current "Web pages" service. A major difference is that content needs to be stored in a Git repository, at last least possible to generate from the Git repository, through ?GitLab's continuous integration (CI) subsystem.

Releases and downloads

Git tags are the basic interface to create releases in ?GitLab. this creates a tarball and allows extra files to be attached to the tag. There are, unfortunately, no download statistics on ?GitLab right now.

Existing releases will not be automatically migrated either.

Mailing lists

There isn't a replacement planned for mailing lists. The Alioth admins have suggested a few possible alternatives:

That the solutions proposed may be incomplete, but we do not want to be blocking the deployment of the Alioth replacement based on this issue. Besides, Alioth can keep running those mailing lists for a while...

Moving lists to lists.debian.org

Some mailing lists that were formerly hosted on Alioth may be eligible for being hosted on lists.debian.org. The lists eligible for migration must follow the requirements outlined on the "How to ask a mailing list" guide. The process is also the same as outlined on the guide.

The following kind of lists are probably acceptable for lists.debian.org:

Short version: file a bug on the pseudo-package lists.debian.org with the severity 'wishlist', with the following information:

Lists migrated from Alioth are expected to be open, that is:

If you do want the archive and/or the subscribers to be imported into your new mailing list, please:

Also, please understand that the requirements and features for lists on lists.debian.org are not the same as for a mailing list on Alioth, and the listmaster might reject your request. Lists.debian.org is not supposed to replace all mailing lists and aliases on Alioth.

tracker.debian.org

Smaller teams can use the mail interface of tracker.debian.org to register to package changes and reach out to other maintainers in a team. For example, commit notifications for third-party repositories can use the dispatch+<package>@tracker.debian.org email address to send notifications to maintainers. For the maintainer field, the <package>@packages.debian.org address should be used (although that needs the fix for 871575 to be deployed on ftp-master, see this discussion for details.

Clarification Request / Open Questions

gitlab notifications

In Gitlab, anyone can subscribe to different notifications for changes in a repository. This can replace the traditionnal -commit mailing lists that are on alioth, hopefully.

Maintenance

Alioth has these administrators (IRC nick in parenthesis):

They can all approve projects and have full administrative rights on all project if needed. They also have root rights on the machine.

They can be contacted via admin@alioth.debian.org. If you encounter a problem with alioth, you can file a support request on the siteadmin project. Sometimes, when you need to prod an administrator to do something, you can join #alioth on irc.debian.org (OFTC) ... they may help you.

Technical details

The machine hosting alioth.debian.org is running on moszumanska.debian.org. It is also hosting svn.debian.org, arch.debian.org, bzr.debian.org, darcs.debian.org, git.debian.org, and hg.debian.org. Those services are tightly related to Alioth since all the user accounts and the groups are taken from FusionForge database. This means that you can only create VCS repositories for existing alioth projects and that any member of that project will have access to the corresponding public repository.

All VCS repositories can be automatically created by FusionForge: enable “Source code management (SCM)” in your project (this can be done in the “Admin” tab, click on “Edit public infos”), then go the “Admin“ page in the “SCM” tab and there you can choose the type of SCM wanted. The repository will be automatically created by a cron job some hours later.

Alioth uses a modified version of FusionForge, see Alioth/FAQ#src to grab the dedicated bzr branch. Feel free to send us patches that apply to this tree if you want to get something fixed in a more timely fashion.

How can I help?

We tend to have a big number of support requests, please help us deal with those. Sometimes it requires a change to FusionForge, sometimes it only requires explanations to the submitter, you'll surely find something to do over there.

Other questions

Before asking an admin, please read the Alioth/FAQ.


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