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Bug#1003653: Revision of removal of rename.ul from package util-linux

Package: tech-ctte
Severity: normal

Dear Technical Committee,

the program rename.ul is a bulk file renaming program with a versatile and simple syntax. It is part of the public software util-linux on kernel.org https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-linux/ and is probably present in every Linux distribution including Debian for at least 14 years up to "Buster".

A user requested in Debian bug report #926637 (https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=926637) to include rename.ul in Debian's alternatives system. The package maintainer replied:

"The util-linux rename command does not implement the same (command line)
interface as the alternative(s) does, so it is not policy compliant to
add it as an alternative."

As a result, the maintainer completely removed rename.ul from the package util-linux without providing any further reference to this Debian policy.

Another Debian bug report #966468 (https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=966468) to provide rename.ul in util-linux again was set to "WONTFIX" without giving any further reason.

In Debian bug report #982944 (https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=982944 users complained about the arbitrary removal of rename.ul from util-linux and argued:

- no Debian policy could be found for the removal of rename.ul from util-linux based on interface differences in the alternatives system

- interface differences are part of the alternatives system, and program examples were given

- removal of rename.ul broke workflows existing for decades, including a scientific workflow at a university

To summarize: the program rename.ul of the util-linux package has been around for decades in Debian and probably every other Linux distribution. The maintainer removed this program referring to a Debian policy which seems not to exist. Furthermore, differences in program interfaces in Debian's alternative system can be found in other program examples and are no reason to remove such a well-established program. Thus, the removal of rename.ul from the util-linux package appears to be both unnecessary and arbitrary.

Since the maintainer did not respond to any of the user arguments in the above bug reports, I kindly request the technical committee to revise the removal of rename.ul from the package util-linux, hoping that this removal will be reversed.

Kind regards,

Dirk Kostrewa.

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