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Re: MSDOS name conversion

On Tue, 13 Feb 1996 02:33:00 -0500 , "brian (b.c.) white" <bcwhite@bnr.ca> said:

> You mean, it saves disk space over splitting in just the msdos
> directory.  I don't suggest that.  Splitting in general actually
> wastes a tiny amount of disk space because more files are generated
> and each file has some amount of overhead.

As you say, it is tiny.  The trade-off is a significant benefit for
floppy-bound Debian users.

> It doesn't make FTP more reliable, it just makes it faster to
> recover.  If the file is damaged during transit, then the user still
> has to re-fetch all pieces because the MD5 checksum won't narrow
> down exactly which file is corrupt (unless you apply MD5 to every
> file instead of the package as a whole).

Good point.  It shouldn't be too difficult to design around this
problem, though (in fact, I wouldn't be too surprised if Ian J. has
already taken care of it).

> Yes, it would... slightly.  The question is whether you want to make
> the distribution slightly more confusing to the general everyday

I really don't understand what makes installation more confusing,
especially for the majority of users who will get Debian from CDROM
and use dpkg/dselect.

> user in order to make installation slightly easier for the
> first-time installer, _once_.

Have you ever had to maintain a system using floppies?  I used to.  I
brought a box of disks with me to work every day to bring home the
latest and greatest.

> By "Debian", I mean the distribution in any form.  Not splitting the
> files "doesn't affect the users' machines except at installation
> time".  If a user is going to go through the trouble to copy all
> those packages to floppy, then they can go through the trouble to
> split them first.

Why?  You don't intend to "punish" them, do you.  :-)

> Having additional files will not make it clearer.  Having additional
> files will not keep things the same.  Therefore, having additional
> files _must_ be more confusing.  No matter how well you name the
> files, it _will_ be less intuitive to some degree.

"Not the same" == "more confusing" ???  Hmm...  there are some logic
problems here.

(NB: DOS has fewer files than Linux.  :-)

I admit that splitting files adds *complexity* but the complexity
could be hidden through the use of well-designed tools.  That's all
I'm trying to say.  You seem to be extremely concerned over what is
IMO (with the proper tools) a negligible increase in "confusion" for
the user who doesn't use dselect (or whatever replaces it).

> Done properly, it would actually make things easier for the user.
> Split files are just that many more files the user has to copy to

This is not true.  The user copies the same number of files onto
floppies whether or not the are split on the ftp site.

> floppy.  In fact, if the user is to use as few disks as possible, it
> will be a real pain to match the pieces in the best way possible.
> A good "split" program could scan the directory to find all .deb
> files and split them optimally across disks to fully fill each one.

The knapsack problem is difficult to solve.  I'm not convinced that we
need to solve it in this case.  I think what Ian was suggesting is a
reasonably good suboptimal solution.  In fact, if we redefine the
cost function to include the delay-in-getting-our-diplomas or
loss-of-productivity-in-our-real-jobs ...   :-))  ...never mind.

> (This is almost as bad as "vi" versus "emacs"!  <laugh>)

At least we aren't being mean about it.  :-)  Oh well, this discussion
has been fun but I cannot afford to put any more time into it.  You
may have the last word(s).  :-)


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