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


On Thu 24 Mar 2022 at 04:50PM -07, Russ Allbery wrote:

> Josh Triplett <josh@joshtriplett.org> writes:
>> I think it's appropriate for people to wait on such work until there's
>> guidance from the TC ensuring that such a patch will be accepted.
>> Otherwise, anyone spending time writing it is spending substantial
>> effort that may well be wasted.
> I think this is a totally fair thing to be concerned about.  Should such a
> patch exist -- with the obvious condition that I think it's quite
> reasonable to do several rounds of iteration on making that patch solid,
> ensuring there are tests, and so forth -- I think it's obvious that we
> should merge it given the previous TC decision.  Of course, I'm not a TC
> member.
> It's difficult, procedurally, for the TC to do anything about a
> theoretical patch that someone could write but hasn't written.
> Particularly for dpkg, the details are important.  I can think of some
> ways of supporting merged-/usr that I wouldn't support even while
> supporting the TC decision.  We have various goals (such as being able to
> bootstrap entirely through package installation) that can be met while
> supporting merged-/usr but which do require design and care.
> If a concrete patch exists, the TC can (and has in the past) authorize an
> NMU to apply it.  Obviously, we should try to avoid reaching that level of
> social and process confrontation if we can avoid it, but this is clearly
> within the TC's constitutional power via a maintainer override, which puts
> the discussion on somewhat firmer ground.  But design of that patch is
> *not* within the TC's constitutional mandate.
> It may be useful to look at how multiarch support in dpkg was handled.
> That was quite painful and I really hope we don't end up following that
> path exactly, but it provides a concrete example of how Debian's processes
> can reach a resolution.
> I personally am still hopeful that we could do much better than the
> multiarch outcome and find a patch that meets the architectural criteria
> of the dpkg maintainer, but I'm fairly certain that we're not going to
> make any progress towards that goal without having working code, or at
> least a very detailed architecture, to start discussing and analyzing.

This is how I see it as well.  Putting aside the postinst warning, the I
can't see anything the TC could do beyond what we've already done, until
there's a patch on the table.  Thanks for the summary.

Sean Whitton

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