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?
- Deprecation of Alioth
- Technical details
- How can I help?
- Other questions
- Interesting links
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:
- It can be used to access many Debian projects resources as a single sign-on provider
It makes it possible for contributors activity to be tracked and shared on the Debian contributors list, even when using different email addresses across several official and unofficial projects (wiki, forums, packaging, etc.)
It provides an email alias <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- It doesn't require going through any specific process or approval, making the barrier to entry very low for any first-time contributors.
- 2018-05-01: planned: alioth shut down, mailing list archived
- 2018-02-01: planned: mailing lists on Alioth are disabled; incoming mail is
- no longer accepted
2017-09-17: alioth deprecated
2013-11-21: alioth back online
2013-11-11: Alioth is down
2007-10-04: Bits from the Alioth team
2007-05-13: Alioth upgraded to Debian etch
2007-03-12: Alioth supports Mercurial (hg.debian.org)
2007-02-16: Alioth downtime
2006-10-28: Migration completed
2006-10-23: Announce of upcoming migration
2006-09-06: Security incident
2006-04-19: Guidelines for packaging projects on Alioth
Next update were in preparation at Alioth/News, but that is probably out of date now.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.
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 This will help sort out outdated and unused repositories.
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:
- git: 18907
- svn: 2377
- bzr: 71
- hg: 27
- darcs: 22
- arch: 7
- cvs: 2
- mtn: 0
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.
?GitLab has excellent issue trackers. Like Git repositories, content will not be automatically migrated, however.
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 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.
There isn't a replacement planned for mailing lists. The Alioth admins have suggested a few possible alternatives:
- moving the list to lists.debian.org, if eligible
- use tracker.debian.org (for team lists)
use the notification system of ?GitLab for code updates (to replace -commit mailing lists)
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:
- The list is expected to be useful, to have a purpose and an audience.
- Public discussion or support lists are probably OK.
Commit or bug notifications lists are not OK. You should use the dedicated features of gitlab instead. If you're interested in a package's bug, you're expected to subscribe to it using the BTS features.
Short version: file a bug on the pseudo-package lists.debian.org with the severity 'wishlist', with the following information:
- List Name
- Rationale (why do you need this list, stating that you had one on Alioth is not enough!)
- Short Description (for display in list indices)
- Long Description (targeted to people that need to decide if they want to join)
Lists migrated from Alioth are expected to be open, that is:
- Open Subscription Policy (no closed lists)
- Open Post Policy (anybody can post)
- Open Archive
- No moderation
If you do want the archive and/or the subscribers to be imported into your new mailing list, please:
on alioth, using your ssh access, run 'sudo /usr/local/bin/export-list <mailing_list_name>' to get gzipped tar archive (on stdout) containing:
- mbox file of the archive
- subscribers list in simple text file
- import the resulting mbox file in your favorite e-mail reader and clean the spam,
- attach the compressed archive and/or the list of subscribers to your request.
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.
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
Can e-mail addresses of the form <package>@tracker.debian.org be used as maintainer team address in Maintainer or Uploader fields of package? not yet. ftp-master needs to be fixed, see above.
- Are there archives of mails to these addresses? not that we know of.
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.
Alioth has these administrators (IRC nick in parenthesis):
- Alexander Wirt (formorer)
- Roland Mas (Lo-lan-do)
- Christian Bayle (chris38)
- Stephen Gran (sgran)
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
Before asking an admin, please read the Alioth/FAQ.
- Other wiki pages:
Alioth/FAQ -- Frequently Asked Questions
Alioth/SSH -- Information concerning SSH usage
Alioth/PackagingProject -- Using Alioth to maintain Debian packages
Alioth/Web -- Hosting web pages and/or web applications on Alioth
Alioth/ikiwiki -- How to use ikiwiki on Alioth
- Concerning version control systems :
Alioth/OtherForges -- alternative software forges
- External documentation