Hi folks, When we started out on our Ubuntu journey, we made some key decisions to simplify development significantly and allow us to focus effectively on our goals. One of those key decisions was to divide the archive up into components, and to focus our core team's efforts on a set of free, supported packages we identified as the "main" component. We knew that we would unfortunately need to ship some non-free drivers by default, which we put in "restricted"; and in order to satisfy users who needed packages we weren't going to support, we put the "universe" and "multiverse" components in place so that they would not be left out in the cold.
While the first Ubuntu developers concentrated on getting main and restricted into shape, a community initiative formed that took care of universe and multiverse: our heroic Masters of the Universe. This simple arrangement served us quite well, and we got ten releases out of the door using it; but it is showing its age. We divided the archive into components before there was even such a thing as Kubuntu, let alone the rich landscape of Ubuntu derivatives that exists today. The modern Ubuntu community has teams of developers working on everything from mobile devices through video editing to cloud computing. It is no longer clear to users which packages are recommended for and supported on which flavours of Ubuntu, and the simple division of the development team into ubuntu-core-dev and MOTU is looking increasingly artificial and does not do a good job of modelling how our development community really works. To fix these problems, we need to evolve our original design into a more fine-grained system. You can read the full specification of our plans so far here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ArchiveReorganisation We are making good progress on planning and on building the foundations for these changes, and we're confident that we can move ahead with them over the next couple of release cycles. To avoid too much disruption and to allow further discussion and planning on the more difficult parts of the task, we will only reorganise the developer permissions scheme in the Karmic cycle, deferring the user-visible archive component changes to a later release. In Karmic, we will transition from the ubuntu-core-dev and motu teams to a "General developers" team that can upload all or nearly all packages in the archive, and a variety of more focused teams that can upload specific sets of packages. As far as users are concerned, packages will still live in main, restricted, universe, and multiverse, but it will be easier for us to grant upload access to developers who are doing a good job in particular fields. We will work out the necessary process changes in Technical Board meetings over the coming weeks, and as part of the transition expect to be working with many individual developers to figure out how the work each of you do can best be expressed in the new permissions scheme. Expect more news on this in the near future. We hope these changes will give us much more flexibility for the next five years of Ubuntu development and beyond. Thanks, -- Colin Watson [cjwat...@ubuntu.com]
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