Behind Ubuntu: Reinhard Tartler

Reinhard “siretart” Tartler: MOTU member

The folks over at Behind Ubuntu present an interview with Reinhard Tartler (aka siretart) and all round nice person. Reinhard is perhaps best known for his work on REVU (“review”).

REVU is the automated system that universe maintainers (MOTU) use for sanity-checking new packages. Before allowing new software to be uploaded into the real archive, REVU provides an upload facility that behaves in a similar way. REVU emulates an Ubuntu upload, much like an aircraft simulator gives pilots a safe way to test out new maneuvers, in safety.

With a proposed package now inside REVU, individual files making up the package are split out, each file being available for viewing simply by clicking in a web-browser. Along side, a status report about the quality of a proposed package is generated. Debian programs Lintian and Linda are automatically run against the source code; these two checkers are tasked with finding simple syntax errors, or policy issues—such as attempting to store executable files in an incorrect location on the filesystem or hard-disk.

Masters Of The Universe are responsible for reviewing each other suggested updates. Once REVU has assembled all the information in a single location on the system, feedback and comments are given by other MOTUs to improve, or help work-around, any areas of concern that were flagged up in the package. Finally, an option to vote allows new MOTU-produced packages to make it through the door once packages collect two positive votes from other uploaders.

Peer-review, as used throughout Open Source and Free Software, is a great system and makes for the creation of high-quality packaged software. REVU makes that peer-review for Ubuntu even easier. Many thanks to Reinhard for sparing time for his interview!

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