The future of Storeman v2

In March 2022 @mentaljam / osetr asked publicly for others to maintain Storeman & Storeman Installer, because he lacked the time to continue maintaining Storeman. I volunteered to take care of the organisational and infrastructural aspects, e.g., creating an “organisation” (i.e., a team placeholder) at GitHub etc. My motivation was to keep Storeman “alive” and working on newer SaifishOS releases, because Storeman is a crucial piece of software, as it enables average users to download and install RPMs from OpenRepos easily; without Storeman, the software and repositories at OpenRepos are very hard to manage, browse, search, install, remove etc. for most SailfishOS users.

Four people reacted to mentaljam’s call, of which three really volunteered to do something. I invited these three plus mentaljam as the original author to the newly created GitHub-organisation “storeman-developers”, but only one and mentaljam accepted their invitation. Both contributed a little, but ultimately I ended up in mentaljam’s former situation, because they both lack any time: Maintaining Storeman and Storeman Installer alone.

But by taking care of many of the accumulated technical and infrastructure debts (especially documentation; development has been stalled since October 2021) and the issues the release of SailfishOS 4.4.0 created for Storeman, I soon saw that properly handling these tasks permanently consumes all my spare time. Furthermore there are a few things I cannot address, because I am not an C++ and Qt programmer. Hence I finished what I had begun and overhauled many aspects of the packaging, documentation and infrastructure at the Sailfish-OBS, OpenRepos.net, Transifex and GitHub, handled all open PRs and many of the filed issues at GitHub plus (the most tedious and exhausting work) replied to many complaints here at FSO.

Ultimately I have to restrict myself to do what I initially volunteered for: To take care of the organisational and infrastructural aspects of Storeman & Storeman Installer. Hence Storeman currently is in a “minimal maintenance mode”, which means that any proper development (since October 2021) and maintenance (recently) has ceased. I will only continue try to patch up Storeman & Storeman Installer, if issues with newer SailfishOS releases arise, but even this may be infeasible if changes in Storeman’s C++ code become necessary, plus I lack the time to respond or react quickly.

Thus this is the second call for volunteers to maintain Storeman as a team: Only if this work is shared, the amount each individual is required to contribute in order to maintain Storeman & Storeman Installer sustainably becomes feasible. Note that many tasks do not require any serious programming skills (e.g., documentation, packaging etc.), the most tedious tasks even do not need much IT know-how (as testing Storeman & Storeman Installer, the basic handling of issue reports and complaints at FSO, OpenRepos and GitHub, updating translations at Transifex etc.): Hence declaring “I am not a coder” is no reason not to volunteer, anyone can contribute and help to share the workload.

Note that supporting Storeman continuously with a little time is much more important than to contribute something big and new (e.g., code for the “super feature”) spuriously: The latter even creates a lot of follow-up work as reviewing, testing etc.

Examples for open tasks:

  • The basic handling of issue reports and complaints at FSO, OpenRepos and GitHub, ultimately advising people to check if the issue they experience is really reproducible and truly related to Storeman, plus guiding them to file a proper bug report at GitHub with all relevant information. This is a permanent task, usually “low traffic”, but may become much more intense after SailfishOS releases. This can be easily shared between many, e.g. per platform.
  • Testing Storeman and Storeman Installer, when a new SailfishOS release was released, if you are a cBeta or EA participant: Does Storeman become listed in the “packages to remove”-message and / or uninstalled by the SailfishOS upgrade, does the Storeman Installer work, does Storeman install and work properly?
  • Testing and optionally trying to analyse, why the Storeman Installer works for many, but fails for some. I never read anything beyond “does not work”, i.e., no version number, SailfishOS release, error message or any other relevant information was ever provided.
  • Helping to define, implement and test a proper SailJail “profile” for Storeman & Storeman Installer. This is mostly analysing (i.e., reading Jolla’s documentation), plus trying and testing, which SailJail properties Storeman / Storeman Installer requires to be fully functional. No programming necessary at all.
  • A couple of programming related tasks are documented at Storeman’s issue tracker at GitHub.

Also note that I am reluctant to pursue significant changes to Storeman’s code-base, as long nobody covers these basic tasks and addresses the technical debts.

Everybody interested in supporting Storeman & Storeman Installer with their time, please reply here.
Thanks!

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I have no technical skills for some of these, but would gladly contribute financially to the project. I am sure I am not the only one so I’d say a clear set up for financial revenue could be a way to trade more time for $$ :slight_smile:

Well, if you prefer to pay somebody to work on these open tasks, that sure is fine, too. If you want to set up such a scheme, go ahead.

But money cannot buy me time, and hence also not my time.

But why don’t you consider to work on the tasks for which you have the technical skills?

I’ll try to be more active on this project. Unfortunately I can’t help with development yet.

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Let me know in PM, I might have some time for the programming part.

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