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the design of the dselect ftp method

For some time, I've been bothered by an aspect of the ftp method for
dselect: it's painful to deal with debian packages on multiple hosts.

Now, maybe the point is that it's supposed to be difficult for US
users to get ahold of software from the free world while getting other
software from a more local (but easier to get to) site?  Nahh...

To illustrate the current design, here's what I have in my
/var/lib/dpkg/methods/ftp/vars file:

$distribs='unstable non-free contrib';

In my opinion, this would be better served with something like:

$sites= {
 "ftp://ftp:rdm%40@ftp.debian.org/pub/debian/unstable"; => "debian/unstable",
 "ftp://ftp:rdm%40@ftp.debian.org/pub/debian/non-free"; => "debian/non-free",
 "ftp://ftp:rdm%40@ftp.debian.org/pub/debian/contrib"; => "debian/contrib"

(Or, maybe I need ...%40\@ftp.debian.org...?, then again username
[+password] should be optional for anonymous ftp)

My primary motivation here is to be able to check south africa without
having to completely wipe out and rebuild my setup [twice], which is
what I currently have to do.  Of course, this opens up a number of
other possibilities (distribution via gopher and/or http -- which
would allow some kind of load-based redirection to other sites, at least in
principle).  Probably this rewrite of the ftp method should be called
something different (web method?).

[No, I'm not volunteering -- I'm deep in the guts of tkined, analyzing
bugs and my wishes for it, and trying to learn scotty on the side.]


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