I, Robie Basak, apply for core-dev.


Robie Basak

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page

Who I am

I have worked for the server team at Canonical since I joined them in August 2011. My focus was originally on ARM servers and hyperscale, working on both other server packages and Ubuntu in general. More recently, my focus has shifted to primarily working on the "traditional" server packages.

My Ubuntu story

I had tinkered with various distributions since the late nineties. But eventually I wanted to stop having to tinker just to keep my own desktop running well. I wanted something that Just Worked, and so I installed Ubuntu some time around 2005. Meanwhile, in a former job as a sysadmin, I had been busy migrating our servers from a home-rolled binary tarball non-distribution to Debian in around 2002. Eventually, we started favouring Ubuntu Server over Debian due to its LTS availability.

I have been working directly on Ubuntu itself since I joined Canonical in 2011. I was granted MOTU and ~ubuntu-server-dev by the DMB in July 2013.

My involvement

Since joining the Canonical server team in 2011, I have been triaging bugs, identifying problems that should be fixed and packages that need to be merged, and following these through to sponsorship and upload.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

I eliminated the previously extensive MySQL delta in Ubuntu during the Trusty cycle, after it had diverged over around 33 revisions since the previous merge in Precise. We're now down to a very minimal delta, and hope to clear the last changes as we resolve larger packaging issues in Debian.

I resolved a duplicate package situation in bug 1292502 by figuring out which packages were impacted and adjusting them to make the duplicate available to be removed.

Fixing bug 1280044 inadvertently led to a mess (Debian bug 743842). I drove this to resolution, which included a no-change rebuild of around 40 packages. I needed sponsorship for only a few of these that were in main.

I coordinated with upstream to fix a complex bug in libical:

I made mongodb portable in and this was accepted upstream.

I have a good relationship with the upstreams for Percona and Oracle MySQL, and close collaboration with other variants through the Debian MySQL packaging team. As part of this I'm active on Debian's pkg-mysql-maint list. Example of patchsets being sent to Debian for inclusion there:

An example of the usefulness of this close collaboration with MySQL for quality in SRUs: reports that I've sent 88 reports up to Debian for bugfixes that affect us both.

Example of working with Debian to resolve issues that affect us both: and

I wrote adt-virt-lxc (derived from another driver), the LXC driver for adt-run in autopkgtest.

I take care about getting my uploads correct and not violating policy. Example:

I have started to maintain and co-maintain packages in Debian. A personal example is mod-authnz-persona, which I packaged to help their upstream (though I think upstream is no longer active after Mozilla pulled resources from the Persona project). Another example is bcache-tools, which I pushed through from its already packaged state in a PPA through to upload in Debian as part of my work on the Ubuntu server team.

Areas of work

Let us know what you worked on, with which development teams / developers with whom you cooperated and how it worked out.

I look after the juju-core and juju-quickstart packages, which involves close coordination with upstream. More recently, I have been working towards more integration between Ubuntu and upstream process, for example in

I am involved in MySQL packaging in both Debian and Ubuntu and work closely with the upstreams, for example in bug 1357003.

Along with others in my team, I generally keep an eye on every other package subscribed to by ~ubuntu-server that isn't directly worked on by others. But of course the time I can spend on this "long tail" is limited so I have to prioritise as needed.

Things I could do better

I have too much to do and too little time in which to do it. So things do fall out of my radar, and I wish I could manage this better. To try and mitigate this, I have been working on training up new Canonical Server Team members so that they will be able to apply for upload rights in the future.

Plans for the future


We have an issue from the server team point of view with resourcing in the SRU and release teams. In a discussion about what we can do to solve this, it has been suggested that the server team contribute more in this areas, and I was nominated for this.

So I'd like to end up on the SRU and release teams, and getting core dev status would be a step towards this goal. Hence my application.

(To be clear, I wouldn't want to get involved in difficult or controverial decisions with two hats on, intend instead to help with the workload by supporting other teams and defer to others for any server related decision that might be controversial)

What I like least in Ubuntu

Please describe what you like least in Ubuntu and what thoughts do you have about fixing it.

It seems to me that current ways of deploying and managing "server" are still in the dark ages, with far too much knowledge required. I have also been thinking about ways to make it easier for users to deploy their own hosting stacks (mail, XMPP, CardDAV/CalDAV, and anything else similiar that can be self-hosted) using Juju, and have been keeping an eye on other Free Software solutions in this space. I think that the right pieces are falling into place to make this far easier, and that soon it will just be a case of implementation.


If you'd like to comment, but are not the applicant or a sponsor, do it here. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.


As a sponsor, just copy the template below, fill it out and add it to this section.

Marc Deslauriers

General feedback

Robie is an experienced developer with great attention to detail. He has done an excellent job at taking over the MySQL package in Ubuntu, and has demonstrated numerous times his knowledge of Debian packaging intricacies. He isn't afraid of getting involved, forming an opinion, and taking a stance on complex issues.

When Robie asked for my endorsement, I was actually surprised to learn that he wasn't already a coredev.

I fully support Robie's application for coredev, I think he would be a great addition.

Specific Experiences of working together

While I have only sponsored Robie once in the past, since I take care of security updates, I often discuss MySQL and PHP packaging with Robie. He is always available to discuss changes or strategies, and demonstrates the knowledge required to be a great coredev.

Martin Pitt

I recently worked with Robie on the LXC backend for autopkgtest, which was a really valuable contribution as it enabled us to run tests on non-x86 platforms (in particular, ppc64el and armhf).

I have only sponsored two things for Robie (ipsec-tools and u-boot-linaro), both of which were relatively simple. No problems with those. So I can't vouch for his packaging skills first-hand, I'm afraid.

Robie has done great work in the server team and is concerned about collaborating with Debian as much as possible. He also has a clear understanding of our release/freeze policies and acts responsibly.

I support Robie's core-dev application on an "attitude/motivation/responsibility" level; I don't have enough first-hand experience on a packaging level.

Thanks Robie!

-- pitti 2014-11-14 06:54:22

James Page

I've worked with Robie on numerous things over the last few years, but most recently on MySQL both in Ubuntu and Debian, where Robie has done a good job in trying to drive the various variants and versions to convergence on underlying principles, and getting focus on the real technical issues of switching between variants.

He works methodically and is always conscious of the impact his work may have upon other packages. He's also good at getting the rest of the server team motivated, participating actively in ML discussions and organizing our Friday afternoon sprints on merges, bug fixes + whatever needs focus at the time.

I support Robie's core-dev application - he will be a valuable addition to the core-dev team!

St├ęphane Graber

I don't believe I've sponsored any of Robie's packages, but I did do a few SRU reviews on them and can't remember of any issues with those.

I've also known Robie as a person for quite a while now, in my mind, he's clearly technically qualified for core-dev and knows what he doesn't know and isn't affraid to ask.

Also, I believe it would be a good thing to have a representative from the server team to help out with release and SRU. Robie is a perfect candidate for this and since core-dev is a requirement for joining those teams, that's one more reason why I highly recommend him for core-dev membership.

Chris J Arges

I have only sponsored one thing for Robie (augeas), but I've reviewed many of his uploads during the SRU process and have seen the consistent quality of his work and his attention to detail.

Reviewing his uploads and comments on his bugs shows already that he understands what considerations are important in being a core developer. In addition he already has PPU rights and has used that to fix many things in Ubuntu.

Overall, having Robie on the core-dev team with be a huge help and benefit to the Ubuntu community as a whole.

-- arges 2014-11-21 18:14:28


=== General feedback ===
## Please fill us in on your shared experience. (How many packages did you sponsor? How would you judge the quality? How would you describe the improvements? Do you trust the applicant?)

=== Specific Experiences of working together ===
''Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.''
## Full list of sponsored packages can be generated here:
=== Areas of Improvement ===

RobieBasak/CoreDeveloperApplication (last edited 2014-11-21 18:25:34 by racb)