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

On Thu, Mar 24, 2022 at 01:24:39PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Josh Triplett <josh@joshtriplett.org> writes:
> > On Thu, 24 Mar 2022 10:35:10 -0700 Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> wrote:
> >> 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's possible that you haven't seen the discussions that I've been in, but
> whenever I point out that this hasn't been fixed and that we should fix
> it, I am told, often quite emphatically, that Ubuntu has never seen any
> problems and therefore this problem is not important and no one needs to
> fix it.  It's hard for me not to characterize this as "willing to" leave
> dpkg in a state that I'd characterize as buggy.

I've certainly seen people state that the issues aren't important and
shouldn't be treated as blockers. I haven't seen people assert that
there are no issues at all without being corrected, just that they're
not important issues and not blockers. (That of course does not mean it
hasn't happened.) And I haven't seen assertions that we *shouldn't* fix
dpkg if dpkg is actually amenable to fixing.

If nothing else, the behavior of `dpkg -S` seems like a clear
counterexample that anyone on a usrmerge'd system can easily observe
themselves, leaving aside the more subtle issues with file migrations
and file conflicts. The debate over the severity of those issues seems
like it took place as part of the previous decision, though.

> I certainly agree that there are also other challenges in fixing dpkg.
> However, it would be nice if we could at least agree that it's necessary
> to fix dpkg, rather than arguing that it's fine to leave it in its current
> state.  (In fact, I suspect this belief that the current state is fine and
> reasonable to leave things in permanently is part of what's making it
> harder to discuss how to best fix dpkg in a way that is sustainable and
> supportable going forward.)

That's fair. It wouldn't surprise me at all if there are *multiple*
non-technical factors playing off each other here: expectation that
patches would be rejected, conflation between "not a blocker" and "not
an issue at all", and just general aversion to getting in the middle of
a flamewar-inviting issue. I do think this has become an adversarial
issue and gotten escalated excessively, which has absolutely compromised
the ability and inclination to fix it.

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