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Re: Adding packages to ELPA

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Adding packages to ELPA
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:47:55 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4.50 (gnu/linux)

>>> Most of the work for that requires very little technical knowledge.
> Can you be more specific on the details of the process?

- Identify a candidate for inclusion.  There are rather few packages
  which shouldn't be in GNU ELPA, so there's ample choice of candidates.
- Contact the author, get his copyright.
- Find contributors (typically by looking at the VCS history), contact
  them, get their copyright.
- Decide whether the package should be added as additional directory
  in the `elpa' branch, or as its own `externals/<pkg>' branch (the
  second is normally used for larger packages).
- Add the files or the branch to the `elpa' repository.
- Fix the files's copyright headers.
- Update the `externals-list' file if needed.
- Commit.
- Usually we'll then also want to give write access to the author, and
  encourage her to use the `elpa' repository as the main repository
  where development happens.

That's about it.

There are various things that need to be improved in the GNU ELPA
infrastructure as well, which mostly require hacking on scripts and
things like that:

- Fix the forward-diffs.py so it finds the package names even when Git
  decides to truncate the file's names in the diffstat part of the message.
- Fix the forward-diffs.py so it automatically finds the maintainers
  email, or automatically updates the list of maintainers.
- Fix the forward-diffs.py so it also works for the `externals/<pkg>' branches.
- Fix the update-archive scripts so it builds the `foo.info' file from
  the Texinfo sources and creates a matching `dir' file.
- Fix the update-archive scripts so it signs the packages.

> Is there a public list of people who have signed copyright or do you
> typically just rgrep NEWS/AUTHOR file(s)?

There's a list (on fencepost.gnu.org), but it's not public (it's only
accessible to maintainers of GNU packages, more or less).  If someone
needs access to the list, of course we can provide access.


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