Brussels / 31 January & 1 February 2015


Upstream Downstream

The relationship between developer and package maintainer

How is it to be a fairly large project upstream of several Linux distributions? How is it do be downstream of such a project? Among the challenges are coordinating between distributions, handling different expectations from distributions and users, and technical issues such as making the software easy to package. Using MySQL as the example, we'll go through several real-life cases and try to see them from both sides of the developer-maintainer relationship.

MySQL is the world's most popular open source DBMS, with a large user base on Linux, Windows, OS X, FreeBSD, Solaris, and others. Besides direct download from the upstream web site and package repositories, Linux distributions are the major delivery channels for MySQL. This talk is based on real-life experiences in the upstream-downstream relationship between MySQL and the major Linux distributions over the last few years.

Among the topics covered are upstream's role in coordinating between the different distributions, how to handle distributions that deliver on platforms that are unsupported by upstream, handling bugfixes and requests for new features in stable releases, and how having an upstream package repository can improve the quality of packages in the distributions.

The target audience is software developers that have or want to have their software packaged for one or more Linux distribution, package maintainers in distributions, and end users wanting to understand more about how Linux distributions are made.


Norvald H. Ryeng