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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Bits from the ISC DHCP Maintainer

I really should write these a bit more often.

Wow, I can't believe it was over 4 years ago that I started having occasional face to face meetings with the ISC DHCP folks.

The entire ISC DHCP team (of 5) was in town for an all-hands meeting, and Larissa Shapiro, the Product Manager for DHCP (and BIND) suggested it would be a good opportunity for another catch up. Given the current (bad) state of DHCP 4.2 in unstable, I thought this was an excellent idea, and so we all had lunch on Tuesday.

I pretty much set the agenda, and it was

  • general state of 4.2.2 in Debian
  • situation with GNU/Hurd and their patch to fix an FTBFS (#616290)
  • the current FTBFS issues with kFreeBSD (#643569)
  • the embedded BIND sources in the DHCP source
  • removal of the RFCs from the embedded BIND source (#645760)

The general state of 4.2.2 in Debian

In a nutshell, it's a bit of a mess. We've got release critical bugs, build failures, the whole cat and kaboodle. It makes me very sad, because 4.2.2 was the first 4.2 series that I had a chance to upload, and I was very excited to do so, because it contains the hotly desired LDAP patches merged upstream. Unfortunately, it's also got the beginnings of the BIND/DHCP merger that's going to be BIND 10, and that is all a bit of a mess. It's directly responsible for the kFreeBSD FTBFS and the introduction of the RFCs, which are both keeping 4.2.2 out of testing.

I gave the ISC folks a high-level overview of how Debian development works, and the normal progression of packages from unstable to testing to stable, and the release process and whatnot, and impressed upon them the implications of the current release critical bugs. I also showed them how Ubuntu development fitted into the picture. Finally, I showed them the popcon statistics for DHCP. I think they found it useful.

FTBFS issues on kFreeBSD

This was a good segue to #643569. The issue is actually with the embedded BIND sources. I'd already forwarded this bug upstream when it first happened, but I don't know what had happened to it. They seemed to act as if this was the first they'd heard of it. I'm hoping that they can get this fixed in 4.2.3, which is due around the end of the quarter.

Embedded BIND sources

Since we were already talking about an issue caused by the embedded BIND sources, we moved on to talking about #645760 and the existence of the embedded BIND sources in general. It should be pretty straightforward for them to strip the RFCs out of the source. They've already done it in the past for the DHCP sources, so I'm also hopeful that this will get resolved in 4.2.3.

The issue of the embedded BIND sources is apparently a bit more complicated, although the day before our meeting, Michael Gilbert filed #643569 and #645760, so I hope that the ISC folks can take a look at these patches and see if it's feasible to adopt them.

Patches for GNU/Hurd

Finally we talked about #616290, which I know is near and dear to the GNU/Hurd porters' hearts.

We probably spent the most time talking about this. The DHCP developers have concerns about accepting a patch for an OS that they do absolutely no testing on, and also questioned the viability of the OS in general. They stressed that they're fairly thin in numbers relative to what they have on their plate to achieve this year, and so pushed back pretty firmly on accepting the current patch.

I relayed the frustration that the Hurd folks were having about a lack of dialogue around the patch (most of the interaction has been via an ISC support person). There was actually a bit of a split between the developers, with one of them appreciating that the Hurd was unlikely to go anywhere as a platform without a working DHCP client, so in some regards, they were condemning the platform by taking the position they were taking.

They're going to go away and take another look at the patch and try to come back with some actionable feedback on what needs to change to make it more acceptable to them, so we'll see what comes of this. I'm not particularly optimistic that anything acceptable to the GNU/Hurd folks is likely to happen any time soon, but maybe if the patch gets cleaned up a bit more, I'll just bite the bullet and start applying it to the Debian package.


One of the guys is more involved in BIND 10 than DHCP, and asked if I could help out with the packaging of a build dependency for BIND 10. It seemed like #578387 was languishing so I offered to pick it up. I've not packaged a library before, mainly because the library packaging guide has scared me off it (I feel I lack the deep C fu that seems necessary), but I figured that this would be a good learning opportunity, so I'm going to dive in.

[14:38] [debian] [permalink]