Three years ago the Debian Games Team decided to orphan certain game packages with the intention to ask the FTP-Masters to remove them after a period of three months if noboby else had adopted the games before. Example: 544925
An initiative was started in 2012 to remove these longtime orphaned games because they were neither adopted nor were they removed.
The goal was to gather feedback and to learn more about the team's current opinions on the topic and to clean up poor quality packages.
If the Games Team doesn't care about games in the first place, it's unlikely that others in Debian will. Orphaned packages will not be improved, may inherit license or security issues and tend to become a burden for others in the future thus after a reasonable amount of time unmaintained packages should be removed.
Reasons and thoughts for or against removal
- Never remove games which are actively maintained. (all)
- The game is orphaned for some time and we decide it's not worth keeping it. (Tobias Hansen)
- If a game is maintained by us and we decide it's not worth keeping it. (Tobias Hansen)
- The date of the last upload or when upstream died does not matter if the game works well, because I don't think the value of a game depends on the frequency of updates. (Tobias Hansen)
- You can't expect your packages to stay in Debian forever if you stop maintaining them. (Tobias Hansen)
- Never remove a game because that is demotivating. Fix it instead. (Paul Wise)
- It is demotivating to install a package and find out that either the program itself is poorly written, or it's poorly maintained and bugs are ignored. (Jon Dowland)
- Having bad quality packages rotting in the repositories has a negative effect on the perceived quality of Debian as a whole. (Jon Dowland)
- There's little motivation for people to bother if the packages linger regardless, the risk of them being removed from a release is sufficient for people to consider their priorities or for users to step up and become contributors. (extrinsic motivation) (Jon Dowland)
- Games can always be reintroduced. (Markus Koschany, Jon Dowland, Bas Wijnen)
- Reassigning stuff to -QA should not be a long term solution. (Jon Dowland)
- There's simply too much to fix, relative to the amount of human resource available. (Jon Dowland)
- Channeling resources serves the greater good better. (Markus Koschany)
- Preserve unique games. They should only be removed in exceptional circumstances. (Emmet Hikory)
- The process of adding software to Debian is opaque. It is unlikely that games which were removed from Debian will be reintroduced. (Emmet Hikory, Ricardo Mones)
- I feel that the more we remove simply because we don't happen to have an expert willing to take full, complete, and personal responsibility for something, the less relevant we become, and the more we encourage fragmentation and use of third-party archives to resolve the apparent lack. (Emmet Hikory)
- I fear that any process that defaults to removal is likely to decrease the chances that we maintain things well, rather than increase it.(Emmet Hikory)
- You seem to want Debian to include all existing free software. I don't want that. If I install a package from the official Debian archive, I'm expecting a certain level of quality. (Bas Wijnen)
- We shouldn't silently remove things which have open RC bugs, indeed. We should noisily and slowly remove them. If the noise awakens someone who cares enough to fix the bug (for which we give plenty of time), then we don't remove it. But if nobody cares enough, the package should go. (Bas Wijnen)
- Having a package with bugs in the archive is also something we don't want. I'm not saying removing packages is a pleasant thing. But it can be a good thing in some cases, even if it is unpleasant. (Bas Wijnen)
Automatic removal of orphaned packages after a certain amount of time
The topic starts here:
Ricardo Mones argues that criteria like "orphan packages after two years with a low popcon value" are not enough reasons to remove a package from the archive while i (Markus Koschany) point out that an orphaned package like LGeneral inherited severe bugs and nobody even bothered to file bug reports. In this case automatic removals can be a good thing in my opinion.