Keeping repos up to date?

Keeping repos up to date?

Postby c_xong » 07 Sep 2018, 00:15

I maintain C-Dogs SDL, which recently had a release - 0.6.8

I recently found out about repology, which gives you at a glance all the repos hosting a project, including their version numbers: https://repology.org/metapackage/cdogs-sdl/versions
I've noticed that
- New versions take a while (weeks, maybe months) to appear in repos
- Some repos are stuck on very old versions - 0.6.2 for example, was two years ago

From this I assume that updating repos is not fully automatic, and it may even require lots of manual work. This isn't ideal.

As a maintainer, how can I help keep these repos up to date? Currently I create a new release and tag in GitHub, so in theory if package maintainers subscribe to that, they can immediately know of new releases. Are there other things I can do to make things easier?

Keen to hear especially from folks like @Akien and @carstene1ns on how the sausages are made.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby andrewj » 07 Sep 2018, 04:45

Those "repos" are not just copies of your software, they are for packaging your software for a particular Linux distribution (or another OS).

The package maintainer has to do several things, like test that a new version of the software actually works on that particular distribution/OS, and ensure the software complies with all the policies of that distribution/OS (possibly making local changes to bring it into compliance, e.g. the locations of data files or configuration files). These are not things that can be automated.

As the "upstream" author of a piece of software, there isn't much you can do about out-of-date versions that exist "downstream" in the Linux distributions (etc). I guess you could send a bug report or contact the packager directly, but ultimately it is their responsibility to check for new versions and do the steps to update their packages.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby c_xong » 07 Sep 2018, 05:50

andrewj {l Wrote}:The package maintainer has to do several things, like test that a new version of the software actually works on that particular distribution/OS


That's great for new projects and important utilities but not ideal for games. I guess I should look harder into gaming clients like itch.io, so the decision to update is between developers and users.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby dulsi » 08 Sep 2018, 02:19

Distributions are created and die all the time. I wouldn't worry about obscure ones. I personally would try to make sure Fedora, Debian/Ubuntu and maybe OpenSuse are up to date.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby onpon4 » 08 Sep 2018, 04:53

Do note that "stable" and LTS distros (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu) will never be up-to-date, since the design of such distros makes it so that every piece of software is somewhat behind upstream. They're not going to make an exception for something as unimportant as a game, so this is just a fact of life you have to deal with.

Honestly, it shouldn't be that big of a deal. Ideally you should be making sure every release generally works well, anyway. You're not going to do perfect, but any given release should be suitable for playing even if it's not the latest and greatest.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby Julius » 08 Sep 2018, 08:14

IMHO, multiplayer games which require an up to date version should not be in distribution repos unless it is a rolling & bleeding edge one. For the rest it doesn't really matter if it is a somewhat outdated version...
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby O01eg » 09 Sep 2018, 16:50

For debian and ubuntu distros you can try to use PPA.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby Jastiv » 31 Oct 2018, 01:37

Multi-player free culture and software games should really have a server that auto-patches them from old versions, just like proprietary commercial ones. The reality is though with small development teams that just doesn't happen even though some of the games have dedicated servers.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby Lyberta » 31 Oct 2018, 13:03

What if the files were installed by OS package manager?
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby Jastiv » 31 Oct 2018, 19:35

When you connect to the server, it should just patch your client the end no matter where you got the client from. This is what needs to happen so you can play on the same server with everyone else. Its entirely unrealistic to expect distributions do the job of a multi-player server. Free software video game servers need their own organizations.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby Julius » 31 Oct 2018, 19:46

*Cringe* you do realize the abuse potential and security risks of that, right?

Well, quake actually has that for well sandboxes game code and a few level assets, and people still get trolled badly by server admins ;)

Better is IMHO a trusted third party, something like itch.io that does Delta updates and where developers can upload new version without going through a lot of bureocratic loops.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby Jastiv » 31 Oct 2018, 20:04

The important thing is to make it easy for end users, not oh go here and download another entire client.
I've never played quake so I don't know how much of a problem it is for that game. I've played mostly multi-player online rpgs and I've only rarely (maybe once) had any problems. The thing is with those sorts of games characters are stored server side, my understand is games like quake don't have any persistent characters.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby Julius » 01 Nov 2018, 15:38

No the problem is that on open-source game people can self-host servers and even highly modified versions will usually show up in the multiplayer server-browser and can be accessed in theory. So the client needs to be quite strict which servers it connects too and certainly should not download some random version from a stranger on the internet.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby SecureUvula » 01 Nov 2018, 20:35

I'm against auto updates on principle, but if the developer signed updates then the client could download them from any mirror (Or IPFS) as long as the signature was valid.

Even then I don't know if there is an elegant "best practices" for manual self-updates of games. Some Go webservices like Syncthing and Gogs handle it, and I don't know what their exact method is.
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Re: Keeping repos up to date?

Postby Lyberta » 02 Nov 2018, 11:30

It's hard to make the game truly moddable if client code is hardcoded. In my engine I'm gonna upload WebAssembly blob that will run on the client. I think with multiplayer free software games the only correct mentality is "each server is its own game".
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