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[Fwd: Re: Non-free, Contrib and CDs ]

Behan Webster writes:
 > Re: the current discussion on debian devel
 > > 
 > >   Name             CD?    Criteria
 > >   ----             ---    --------
 > >   Main             Yes    Mainline Debian distribution
 > >                           Social Contract compatible
 > >   No-Export        No     US Export Restricted
 > >   No-Profit        No     Cannot be sold for profit
 > >   No-Sell          No     Cannot be sold, even for cost
 > >   Use-Restricted   Yes    Usage is restricted
 > >                           but can be sold for profit
 > >   Installers       Yes    Installers
 > >   Depends-Problem  Yes?   Depends on package in No-* areas
 > > 
 > This is getting _way_ out of hand.  Have you looked at hamm's
 > directory structure lately?  It's rediculous!  There are so
 > many levels of indirection that it's impossible to find anything!
 > (I have to resort to find(1) to locate anything these days!)

 > This information could so much more easily be recorded as keywords
 > (once the Keywords header is added for deity).  This information
 > _is_ important, but is being encoded in a manner that isn't
 > appropriate.

It depends on what are the criterions you use: it will probably need
less CPU-time to look for this information (I mean _only_
distrib. policy here) if we have these dirs than if we have only one
or two dirs for the whole.

 >  For instance, if you change a package from X11 to
 > games, or free to non-free, or contrib to non-US at the very least
 > you are talking about moving the file several directories away,
 > if not to an entirely different ftp site!

I agree that in a way the 2 issues of dist. policy and sectionning are
quite similar. But there is a great difference about how they are
handled just now: all packages in a dist (ie main or contrib or...)
are listed in one *only* Packages file, but stored in section
directories; OTOH, for dists, there is a bijection between dir and
Packages file.

IMHO, we would lose nothing if we supress the section directories and
just put eg. all "contrib" packages in just the same dir.

OTOH, I like the idea of keeping seperate dists. main/Packages.gz is
already IMHO quite big, and needs to be retrieved each time a single
package has been updated. Quite bad for bandwidth, isn't it ?

 >  In many cases in the past
 > this has meant that the package has existed in both places for months!
 > You should be able to update this info _without_ moving the file.

What about (again) the idea of having the whole archive controlled by
a daemon which would prevent such things. The installer would just
have to ask him to "move this package to this {section,dist}", and we
should never see any duplication again. Nor would we see out-of-sync
Packages files.

 > This extra complexity just gives
 > the archive maintainer more work, and makes finding packages
 > by hand much more difficult.

I think someone who wants to find a package by-hand can just run
dselect in another window/VC and ask him where it is. That's what I do
when I *really* need to, which should be never or very rarely in
normal use.

 > 1) Official cd manufacturers (Now that we have an Official Debian CD,
 > 	cd manufacterers are spoon fed what should go onto a Debian cd.
 > 	It doesn't matter where we keep our files on the archive,
 > 	because we can include exactly what we want on the CD _for_them_).

OK. so we don't count them.

 > 2) Non-official cd manufacturers (As long as we have directories that
 > 	make a distiction as to what goes on and what stays off a debian
 > 	cd, these people should be able to take care of themselves.
 > 	We should need no more that 2 hierarchies to provide this.
 > 	Just something like "Debian_cd" and "Extra".  That's it.)

Yes, but probably some people would like to distinguish between
no-sell and no-profit, as an example.

 > 3) Debian Mirrors (Most of these will mirror the whole thing, or
 > 	just one architecture.  Having 3-10 hierarchies just slows
 > 	down the mirroring process and ensures that files will be
 > 	moved often between directories creating more mirror work).

Moves will more likely occur between sections than between dists. So
this argument will loose most of its weight if we just suppress
directories for section, as suggested above.

 > 4) Personal Mirrors (Most people will mirror one or more architectures
 > 	and possibly only mirror the "Debian_cd" portion.)

Can be handled with standard tools, as long as they keep the same
structure of dirs. So this is like 5 and 7:

 > 5) People installing Debian from CD with dselect/deity (They shouldn't
 > 7) People installing Debian from ftp with dselect/deity (They shouldn't
 > 	really care what the directory structure is, because it's being
 > 	hidden by the interface)

OK. so we don't count them

 > 6) People installing Debian by hand from CD (They want to be able to
 > 	find deb files without having to go 6-10 levels into the archive
 > 	to find a file.)

How often is that ? I don't think that's a supported way of doing
things. So I don't count it either.

 > 8) People installing from whatever method that just want to install
 > 	free packages (A script could extract this info from the
 > 	Packages file.  Certainly deity will give the user the chance
 > 	to restrict their choices to _only_ the free packages if they
 > 	wish to do so.)

Yes, it certainly will at one date or another; so I do not count that

Result: IMHO most of the situations you present seem to advocate the
suppresion of *section* directories; I do not think they have enough
weight in favour of removing *dists* directories too.

 > There is no case that I can think of (if we include Keywords) that
 > warrants splitting up the Debian archive into even the 3 hierarchies
 > we currently have let alone the additional 4-6 people seem to be
 > discussing!

Convenience and bandwidth; see above.

 > I mean, just think about all the time people spend arguing about which
 > directory a package goes into because their definitions are somewhat
 > ambiguous.  Just think how much worse it could be if we had 4-6 more!

Won't it be more clear about no-sell/no-profit/etc. than about
contrib/non-free ?

 > Life doesn't need to be so complicated!  Can't this one thing be simple?

Why ? Is it really *so* complicated ?

 > I appologize if I've ruffled any feathers.  It's just the frustration
 > flooding out.

Yes, I saw that; same comment for this mail ;)

Yann Dirson <dirson@univ-mlv.fr>

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