Friday, 7 May 2010

It was the Dawn of the 3rd Age...

...and not only is the Shadow War over but it looks like we will have a community OBS thanks to the team formerly known as infrastructure :)

I'm really excited as I see this as a way for the Maemo and Moblin development communities to transition smoothly into a MeeGo future; we should eventually be able to offer an easy way to build applications for Fremantle, Harmattan, MeeGo and future device OSes too.

So what's happened?

A while ago the RWG proposal was begun and we've been pushing it ever since. Tero, Mike, Neils and others have been working on the CAT proposal as well as the RWG. We got together on irc and had a chat about the scope and how to proceed.

Last week the TSG agreed we need something (kinda!) - so we decided that we'd go ahead and do it.

We now (thanks to Tero & Nokia?) have a test machine behind a firewall and I've setup an OBS (more than you ever wanted to know... but you said to work in the open, right?) to prototype how we'd deploy it for community use. This has a link to the MeeGo OBS and successfully builds MeeGo packages.

Where are we going?

I don't know yet; but here's what I'm proposing (my ideas tempered with some input from others):

Initially we should offer a MeeGo OBS and a Maemo OBS. There are corporate issues around this and whilst my personal aim is a single build system able to build debs and rpms against any M[aemG]*o distro, that isn't the first step.

The MeeGo OBS will probably offer home directories and a way to build against the MeeGo weekly snapshots. We may be able to offer a 'live' feed if some OBS bugs are resolved and we have the build resources.

The Maemo OBS will provide an alternative to the autobuilder for Fremantle and, eventually, for Harmattan. This makes sense as our longer term future with MeeGo is clearly the OBS.

One thing I dread is having to go to each device vendor's build system to make build my app for their community app store; so maybe off into the future we'll even provide a neutral place where we can support multiple vendors: a single build system that can build community MeeGo apps for devices from any vendor that participate.

Another area of interest to me is something I call "Surrounds" (yes, Quim, I know... it needs work). This isn't my idea... lots of software products and distros have it. It's that chaotic area around a product where 'outsiders' or community people contribute their "unsupported" bits and pieces. Actually this deserves a post on its own. Anyhow, I think the OBS will make managing this a lot easier for the community.

There is still a lot to do...

We've asked a few community devs to join (and please come and talk to us if you feel you can help - bear in mind that we need documentation and build system process experience more than development skills).

A big task is the setup of an OBS build system for Fremantle. I managed to get this 80% done a while ago so that work needs digging up and finishing off. Once that's done we will need a lot of help validating all the Extras apps.

Yet more work is required on my cross-compilation system used by the OBS. That was deployed for Mer and we need to redeploy it for Fremantle too.

There is work on reporting systems and QA automation systems going on that we can re-use which will help in transforming the autobuilder promotion type processes and figuring out what is and isn't needed in the OBS world.

Speaking of which ... do we take this opportunity to tweak the Extras promotion policy?
I think we need something like the Devel->Testing->Stable process for Maemo apps - but maybe we should be working with the CAT guys to figure this one out?

Finally please don't ask me when you'll get to use it, we don't have a schedule yet :(

However, do feel free to ask me what we're working on or what we've done or what you can help with.

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