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Bug#994388: dpkg currently warning about merged-usr systems

On Thu, 24 Mar 2022 10:35:10 -0700 Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> wrote:
> I think this accidentally confuses the related states of "unsupported" and
> "buggy."  We know that merged-/usr is buggy, in that one can construct a
> set of package operations that leave the system in an invalid state.  We
> have a project disagreement over how serious those bugs are.  No one is
> stepping forward to fix those bugs, which is indeed quite unfortunate.  I
> personally strongly disagree with the belief that simply because Ubuntu
> hasn't seen many instances of this class of bugs while using a package set
> where people have not moved files between packages and out of /lib and
> /bin very much if at all, it is acceptable to leave dpkg in that buggy
> state.
> However, I think this is similar to many other disagreements over the
> severity of bugs, particularly ones that are hard to fix.  It doesn't
> really imply that this configuration is *unsupported*, which would mean
> that if someone had a system in that state and reported a problem we would
> say that we couldn't help them because their system is not in a supported
> configuration.  This is not the case; merged-/usr is supported in that
> sense.  Guillem may not be willing to support the user in that case but
> other people most certainly would.
> That said, I personally am disappointed that the folks who have been
> pushing merged-/usr forward are willing to leave dpkg in a known-buggy
> state without attempting to patch it to fix the remaining issues.  I
> realize that there are various obstacles in successfully doing that, not
> all of which are technical,

I don't think "willing to" is a fair characterization here. It does not
seem at all obvious that such patches would have been accepted, given
the repeated vehement objections from the dpkg maintainer about the
chosen approach. Those objections did not invite contribution; at every
point, the assertion was that usrmerge was broken, not that dpkg needed
help supporting it. In particular, while I've seen the dpkg maintainer
call for implementing *different* approaches to merged /usr, I have not
seen even the slightest hint that patches implementing merged /usr in
the fashion the TC decided upon would be accepted.

I think those who might otherwise have been willing to write such
patches could be forgiven for thinking they'd be unwelcome.

I'm hoping that the TC may be able to address that exact issue.

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