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#1 2023-10-08 08:45:42

mpr
Member
Registered: 2022-01-13
Posts: 15

Where to get information on the package update process

Hello,

I'm curious how I can get more information about the update status of packages in the main repositories. Is there a forum somewhere where such topics are discussed?

My immediate concern is the package ncurses which was flagged out-of-date months ago. (In the version in the repository, 6.4_20230520-1, there is supposedly some problem for foot which should be fixed in newer versions -- according to https://github.com/ranger/ranger/issues/2861.) I was waiting for a newer version to arrive but instead the package is now not flagged out-of-date anymore. I find that a bit confusing but I don't really know where to get information about it -- or about the update status of packages in general.

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by mpr (2023-10-08 08:47:18)

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#2 2023-10-08 10:14:08

loqs
Member
Registered: 2014-03-06
Posts: 17,730

Re: Where to get information on the package update process

Have you tried building ncurses locally from the latest patch release [1] to see if the issue is resolved?
Edit:

diff --git a/PKGBUILD b/PKGBUILD
index 5050e31..d5fcb27 100644
--- a/PKGBUILD
+++ b/PKGBUILD
@@ -4,7 +4,7 @@
 # Contributor: judd <jvinet@zeroflux.org>
 
 pkgname=ncurses
-pkgver=6.4_20230520
+pkgver=6.4_20231007
 pkgrel=1
 pkgdesc='System V Release 4.0 curses emulation library'
 arch=(x86_64)
@@ -20,11 +20,11 @@ source=(
   $pkgname-6.3-libs.patch
   $pkgname-6.3-pkgconfig.patch
 )
-sha512sums=('bbb1dd33f4c701165b7612657a7577d3175b94c5815a89eaab3a8774510feb9322d284896dba8d3896f6dd89a8b98031829a76f7e3397aebb6cf2a71e989f93c'
+sha512sums=('acff8dfd7076dcf19531f897ddfab0516a90063684247f029e423570639e87ab427d914d813374962e0b02c49e3235f47eaeeb6724a7b557f8996db84f9a07e3'
             'SKIP'
             'adb02b838c40f1e58a1b31c26d5cd0f2a1c43f3b6d68e839981764c0f6c905a9eb51dd36ff018628fdeb20747cc7467727d57135408ab4848259384077a52b28'
             '2d2c0ec3c880e638ab4aa3dbff5e28e4cd233153e24816bd87e077f848aa3edd5114cd0f2a7f6e8869dd1861a2746e512886c18264ff1676927dcc320c5ef958')
-b2sums=('d5e88198140ab6471a36bef08685e17ac2e43b4e66b53abaa961d5f8912eb3eae3784db194436c2b3e5f2deaeefaaed93e0550bcab0456f1486fc35d0cdac440'
+b2sums=('77a21d182c05c96294fafa949b62e8056627fa73ad22f5f456d347e87b92f051a0e5fe098c296bf4df3d451d48ece6604fc35232259f1e938987e8ebfd17bb9d'
         'SKIP'
         '31bb10e82dd018a75e57252052650d9f0f5eb5e7e887118c2ea40032b11f59ec6aa4d9bae804c615cbecdf3382f3434e0c9e9e8440fdefe66a507be020b8965c'
         'fb6cf606cf3db7f6b306272696a63bce83d52cfa91e850f9a7bdb9d3d8455a26943529a9cf79731dddc7f763c27211a9afab9c4c31dbb6d12fd720eb390eb0a3')

[1] https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug- … 00057.html

Last edited by loqs (2023-10-08 10:15:02)

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#3 2023-10-08 10:17:35

mpan
Member
Registered: 2012-08-01
Posts: 1,242
Website

Re: Where to get information on the package update process

Hello. Packages are contributed by volunteers — developers and trusted users⁽¹⁾ — and it’s up to each of them to decide, how and when they deliver a package.

If one has an inquiry about the update status, contacting the particular maintainer is neccessary. But please remember, that hurrying them up will not be received well. People donate free time to the project and delays in updates are not a result of their laziness or being jerks. Usually there is a blocking dependency/dependent, an issue with building or other packages having higher priorities. With tiny version bumps containing only minor fixes the maintainer also must weight the benefit of updating versus risking breaking other packages, and whether it’s not better to simply wait for the next important release.

So it’s best to contact a maintainer only if there is an open bug reported against the package and updating would fix it (there is none for ncurses, you may open one), or you have a honest intention of helping with a build issue/conflict. The latter includes being sure, that you can actually build the package in a clean chroot and it doesn’t cause obvious breakage.

Even then remember, that your needs are weighted against the entire community. I do understand, that one may see a particular feature gravely important, but in practice its relevance to people is much lower.
____
⁽¹⁾ At the moment repos and role names are in the process of reorganization.


Sometimes I seem a bit harsh — don’t get offended too easily!

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#4 2023-10-08 12:20:56

mpr
Member
Registered: 2022-01-13
Posts: 15

Re: Where to get information on the package update process

Thanks for your answers!

@loqs I haven't tried that. So far, after each system update, I've downgraded the package to the last version that worked (ncurses-6.4-2-x86_64). Doing so is not cumbersome and it doesn't take very long so it's not really a problem. If at some point in the future it seems necessary to use a newer version I'll make sure to try the patched versions you referred to!

@mpan Thanks that explains the process very well. Are there any guidelines regarding being a maintainer that I could read? Since Arch is a rolling-release system I had previously assumed that it is necessary to update packages relatively quickly. How does it work if some program B depends on a version of program A that's not yet available in the repository?

I understand that the work is done by volunteers (which is greatly appreciated) who do it in addition to their day jobs and I don't mean to rush or pressure anybody by asking this question. I provided the ncurses example mostly to give some context for the (more general) question -- although it is what prompted me to ask the question in the first place because I was surprised that a package that was previously marked out-of-date is not marked out-of-date anymore. I'm sure there's a good reason for it, I was just curious what it is.

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#5 2023-10-08 13:20:21

loqs
Member
Registered: 2014-03-06
Posts: 17,730

Re: Where to get information on the package update process

mpr wrote:

@loqs I haven't tried that. So far, after each system update, I've downgraded the package to the last version that worked (ncurses-6.4-2-x86_64). Doing so is not cumbersome and it doesn't take very long so it's not really a problem. If at some point in the future it seems necessary to use a newer version I'll make sure to try the patched versions you referred to!

# pacman -S devtools # Install devtools package if needed
$ pkgctl repo clone --protocol=https ncurses # obtain PKGBUILD
$ cd ncurses
$ pkgctl build --pkgver=6.4_20231007 # update package version to 6.4_20231007 and build package
# pacman -U ncurses-6.4_20231007-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.zst # install newly built package

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#6 2023-10-08 14:12:36

mpan
Member
Registered: 2012-08-01
Posts: 1,242
Website

Re: Where to get information on the package update process

The rolling release model may be explained in opposition to the point release model. Instead of the system being updated all at once and package versions being basically frozen between updates, in the rolling release model there is no specific system-wide updates and packages are updated separately, continuously. There is no guarantee regarding speed of updates. The point release model withholds updates⁽¹⁾ for long periods of time. As a consequence, rolling release models end up with having generally fresher software. But this is an observed result, not a policy. Most Arch packages are not growing mold on them, but that doesn’t mean there are no exceptional situations.

If a program B depends on a version of program A, which is not in the repositories, somebody made a serious mistake. They will be flogged with a stuffed Tux wink. Packages are uploaded to the repositories in a manner, that makes dependencies and dependents be in sync.

Maintainers should follow Arch packaging guidelines, but I am not aware of any other policies related to the packaging process itself.
____
⁽¹⁾ Other than important, backported patches.


Sometimes I seem a bit harsh — don’t get offended too easily!

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#7 2023-11-20 21:14:41

Mrestof
Member
Registered: 2022-05-06
Posts: 3

Re: Where to get information on the package update process

loqs wrote:
# pacman -S devtools # Install devtools package if needed
$ pkgctl repo clone --protocol=https ncurses # obtain PKGBUILD
$ cd ncurses
$ pkgctl build --pkgver=6.4_20231007 # update package version to 6.4_20231007 and build package
# pacman -U ncurses-6.4_20231007-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.zst # install newly built package

Tried myself because I have the same issue as OP, and just to complete the steps you suggested, one would also need to import the gpg keys for installing the package. So either grab the key and import it manually from author's website or import it by adding the following line before building the package:

$ gpg --receive-keys 19882d92dda4c400c22c0d56cc2af4472167be03

Also about the results of package upgrade, it does indeed help to fix the issue, as noted in the Github issue linked by the OP, and it doesn't break anything right away.

I'd like to help in the process of updating the package both by creating the bug report and by helping the maintainer to solve package conflicts.
Considering above, what would you suggest to do and in what order? Creating the ticket and only after that contacting the maintainer, or skip the first part?

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