We are getting better and better accumulating RC bugs in testing. This is unfortunate because the length of the freeze is strongly correlated with the number of open RC bugs affecting testing. If you believe that Debian should have short freezes, then it will require putting effort behind that belief and fix some RC bugs – even in packages that are not maintained directly by you or your team and especially in key packages.
The introduction of key packages have been interesting. On the plus side, we can use it to auto-remove RC buggy non-key packages from testing which has been very helpful. On the flip-side, it also makes it painfully obvious that over 50% of all RC bugs in testing are now filed against key packages (for the lazy; we are talking about 475 RC bugs in testing filed against key packages; about 25 of these appear to be fixed in unstable).
Below are some observations from the list of RC bugs in key packages (affecting both testing and unstable – based on a glance over all of the titles).
- About 85 RC bugs related to (now) defunct maintainer addresses caused by the shutdown of Alioth. From a quick glance, it appears that the Debian Xfce Maintainers has the largest backlog – maybe they could use another team member. Note they are certainly not the only team with this issue.
- Over 100 RC bugs are FTBFS for various reasons.. Some of these are related to transitions (e.g. new major versions of GCC, LLVM and OpenJDK).
Those three points alone accounts for 40% of the RC bugs affecting both testing and unstable.
We also have several contributors that want to remove unmaintained, obsolete or old versions of packages (older versions of compilers such as GCC and LLVM, flash-players/tooling, etc.). If you are working on this kind of removal, please remember to follow through on it (even if it means NMU packages). The freeze is not the right time to remove obsolete key packages as it tends to involve non-trivial changes of features or produced binaries. As much of this as entirely possible ought to be fixed before 2019-01-12 (transition freeze).
In summary: If you want Debian Buster released in early 2019 or short Debian freezes in general, then put your effort where your wish/belief is and fix RC bugs today. Props for fixes to FTBFS bugs, things that hold back transitions or keep old/unmaintained/unsupportable key packages in Buster (testing).