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Re: Package naming rant

On Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 09:57:45PM +0200, Thomas Goirand wrote:

> Could we have this discussion in the OpenStack PKG list instead? It
> doesn't feel like this list is the appropriate one. I also don't believe
> that any of the people writing in this thread are OpenStack users, are
> you guys?

I guess many are trying to make the point that flooding the namespace
with various packages from the same ecosystem with very generic names,
makes life harder for all those people that are outside that ecosystem,
and that Debian is not only used by the people who are part of that

In this openstack packages provided an example but it is in my opinion
something that does not only affect openstack. Take alien-hunter, with a
name that screams of video game and a description that would look like
white noise to anyone without a PhD in biochemistry.

If I was one of those who made an effort to come up with longer package
names, I would feel rather wronged by a flood of packages who did not
bother: it gives me a feeling like having worked hard to organise the
book in a library, then coming back from holidays to see that the
replacement librarian has just stashed all the returns in one single
formerly empty shelf close to their desk.

Some projects may have it harder than others to maintain a clean
namespace. Apache modules install themselves in /usr/lib/apache2/modules
and so can choose names in an apache-specific namespace, while
biochemistry packages install executables in /usr/bin and so even if
alien-hunter was called bio-alien-hunter, it would still not be
coinstallable with an alien-hunter videogame[1].

I do not know where openstack components install themselves; if they
install in /usr/bin stuff that is never meant to be run by the command
line, I think it would be more approriate to jump at the throat of
openstack upstreams rather than at that of the DDs who packaged it.

The package namespace, and the /usr/bin namespeace, are currently flat,
and flat namespaces[2] work bettter when participants try to keep to
some level of hygiene, and people who do not make an attempt to
coordinate with others give a feeling like those who jump the queue at
the bus stop.

It may be that the right solution is not to have a single namespace, and
to design things so that you cannot do videogames, openstack and
biochemistry research on the same system, and if one is not interested
in openstack/biochemistry/videogames, then one doesn't even get to see
the openstack/biochemistry/videogames packages and get confused by them.

I'm all for technical solutions to social problems.


[1] this one specifc case probably would be coinstallable, because
    alien-hunter installs an alien_hunter executable and so we would end
    up with alien-hunter and alien_hunter, with the result that the
    biochemist trying to identify horizontally acquired DNA by
    predicting putative HGT events with IVOMs will find themselves
    wondering where is the quit button and how to get that stupid game
    out of full screen mode so it could be killed with -9 fire, and why
    the hell did a game start in the first place.
[2] like the environment, and most shared spaces.
GPG key: 4096R/E7AD5568 2009-05-08 Enrico Zini <enrico@enricozini.org>

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