posted by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Mon 11th Jan 2010 15:57 UTC

Arch Linux Team, 5/6
What part of the Arch Linux development is the most active?

Thomas Bächler: Definitely the package update monkeys.

Allan McRae: Packaging.

Aaron Griffin: Packaging is by far the most active part, followed closely by Pacman development.

Ionut Biru: Hmmm. Packaging, packaging and packaging.

Ronald van Haren: I suppose that is the packaging part. Also, pacman development if fairly active these days.

Pierre Schmitz: Definitely packaging. Our commit list is a great use case to benchmark your mail server. ;-)

But let's not forget about our pacman development team. I guess of our "real" coding projects, this is the most active one.

Dan McGee: What part of Arch Linux is most active: packaging.

What part of Arch Linux development is most active: I'm actually not sure.

This is one issue I am a bit sore on. I tend to think we have a lot of packagers that do a good job at what they do, but we don't do enough development because that is taking up a lot of our time. We could use a lot more effort in automating some of the mundane packaging process and even doing automatic rebuilds of [core] or [extra] every so often (something like Gentoo's tinderbox).

Hugo Doria: Someone mentioned "packaging" already?

What do you like least about Arch Linux?

Thomas Bächler: Are you implying that there is anything I dislike?

Dieter Plaetinck: Things that break. Especially breakages for packages that are infrequently used on Arch are a pain because you're on your own. But every distro has breakages, and in Arch it's just easier to figure out.

Allan McRae: Users. At least the demanding ones...

Aaron Griffin: Hmm, tough one. What I like the least isn't really Arch specific. I dislike how intertwined all the system components of a basic Linux system are becoming. Take, for instance, the Xorg dependence on hal. Xorg needs hal to auto-detect new keyboards and mice that are plugged in. Sounds ideal, but this has always worked for me in the past without hal. It seems like hal is necessary to cover the edge cases, but this also makes the common cases more unwieldy. This is contrary to the basics of Arch - the common case should be simple.

Ionut Biru: Nothing. Things that I dislike are about upstream decisions.

Tobias Kieslich: Arch Linux tries to stay focused, but every once in a while things fail. As for Linux in general, the entire hal -> (whatever)-kit -> permission handling chain becomes a nightmare. Not only does it fail to deliver that targeted functionality, but it keeps changing. And as by evidence of what Fedora had tried (allowing users to install packages), it becomes a security nightmare, too. For the sake of (questionable) comfort headin' down the Windows road. Leaves me uneasy about it, very!

Ronald van Haren: Nothing.

Pierre Schmitz: It's name is suboptimal for promotion in German speaking countries.

Seriously, there a lot of things to improve, but I cannot name one that really annoys me.

Hugo Doria: I think that we need more users testing the system and reporting bugs. There are some packages, for example, that stay on [testing] for some time, but the users do not test it and we just find the problems when the package is moved to the main repos (core/extra).

Have you ever considered building hardened system/packages and/or using grsecurity patched kernel?

Thomas Bächler, Giovanni Scafora, Ionut Biru, Ronald van Haren: No.

Allan McRae: No. The need is obviously not there given no community projects have really started the job.

Aaron Griffin: As stated before, Arch tries to provide a base system for others to add on to. If hardened/grsecurity stuff is needed, it's trivial for someone else to provide a pacman repo with packages that do this. If it becomes popular enough, it could always get integrated into the core Arch system.

Pierre Schmitz: No, I am still fine with a vanilla kernel, and I believe in sane and secure configuration and, of course, regular updates.

Dan McGee:

Questions like this come up a lot. Community projects get announced on the BBS and then...nothing. Everything starts with the community getting the ball rolling, and for the last 3 years I've seen this ball go nowhere.

Where is development primarily focused for the Arch Linux team (the installation, pacman, etc)?

All: Packaging.

Aaron Griffin: Aye, most work and time is spent packaging. It's a thankless job. Myself, though, I tend to (try to) work on some of the internal tools no one really sees, such as the scripts which manage our repos, the tools that build our installation ISO, and things like that.

Table of contents
  1. Arch Linux Team, 1/6
  2. Arch Linux Team, 2/6
  3. Arch Linux Team, 3/6
  4. Arch Linux Team, 4/6
  5. Arch Linux Team, 5/6
  6. Arch Linux Team, 6/6
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