An horrible example at first:
# Matti Bickel <firstname.lastname@example.org> (2014-04-22)
# Masked slotted lua for testing
# William Hubbs <email@example.com> (2016-08-07)
# Taking this mask since Mabi is retired
# Rafael Martins <firstname.lastname@example.org> (2016-12-04)
# Adding Lua 5.3 to mask
# Samuli Suominen <email@example.com> (2012-03-06)
# Masked for testing since this is known to break nearly
# every reverse dependency wrt bug 407091
stable dev-lang/lua-5.1.5 was released upstream:
--- 17 Feb 2012
Lua 5.1.5 released. This is a bug-fix release.
Gentoo has an official release for _testing_
It is called "Gentoo unstable" !
Instead of using the _unstable_ release as supposed,
we get 4 version bumps of other packages masked,
because of a missing (masked) Lua version.
In essence, because the testing-mask of Lua
other packages cannot be tested with new versions.
Ban the wrong wording "masked for testing"
( _testing_ is the Gentoo unstable release!)
instead suggest "masked for experiments"
and _limit_ an experimental period
4 weeks of 4 months but not 8 years!
I came to this story lately, because my computer got frozen several times.
I had activated the USE=lua in media-video/mpv shortly before ... and saw
me using the ten years old scripting machine of Lua.
Further: In front of profiles/package.mask
should be placed an explanation as follows:
When a version is "masked for experiments"
you can help providing a bunch of users
getting a better Gentoo experience by doing
your experiments with that version, because
after #TimePeriod all of Gentoo users have
to experiment otherwise.
See also https://archives.gentoo.org/gentoo-dev/message/00769094568cbcbf7a7ca256a5050ab6
I've proposed a few times that we should drop this failed experiment and let people start over.
When comparing with Debian, they have one "state" more than we have:
A) Debian-experimental==package.mask/unkeyworded a very new project arrives
B) Debian-unstable==Gentoo.unstable, but package is whacky (really is unstable)
C) Debian-testing==Gentoo.unstable, package is on its way getting stable status
D) Debian-stable==Gentoo.stable + we are rolling the release!
B) is the moment,
when a Gentoo maintainer decides to package.mask the keyworded new version of a package, because they know many users allow unstable packages, because they want the new hot thing, but expect it to be usable (like Debian-testing)
If we don't want the effort of an additional Gentoo release, we could introduce an additional list positioned in profiles/unstable-whacky.info - or better:
An additional portage flag (experiment-with-me) could allow these ebuilds or is an additional package.mask list. Emerge, when allowed "experiment-with-me" and using an version mentioned in this list, could display a purpose for the experiment:
"unstable warning: please test this version of lua-xy with media-video/mpv"
Otherwise the new list is just added to the old package.mask internally.
... this just is an idea how to encourage maintainers to let users experiment.
Indeed, the new list should be named
as it should be handled exactly like package.mask
but makes a different purpose of the mask explicit.
A user masking a version should not be surprised,
because the version keeps masked status.
The maintainer can introduce a new version for a few days in
The moment he knows the limitations of the ebuild better, he
can express exactly a pointed warning for the users and push
the ebuild for a wider audience into