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Re: source packages and censorship

Raul Miller <rdm@test.legislate.com> writes:

> Daniel Martin at cush <dtm12@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu> wrote:
> > What about a pine-installer package?
> > 
> > This would be similar to the netscape3 and netscape4 packages of old - 
> > the user would be asked in the preinst to put the pine .orig.tar.gz,
> > the .diff.gz and the .dsc files into /tmp (or $TMPDIR); if those files 
> > weren't there the preinst would bomb out, aborting installation.
> We didn't have the right to distribute the netscape3 and netscape4
> packages.  We do have the rights to distribute qmail and pine sources.
> I don't think it's wise (good for the people who use debian) to discard
> that ability (which we currently have).

I don't quite understand what ability it is that you think would be
discarded.  The ability to distribute everything needed to compile and 
install pine all at once?  I don't see how this would not be
accomplished by a pine-installer that asked to optionally download the 
required files.  Or are you perhaps imagining the creation of some
non-official Debian CD that would have the pine-src package on it - it 
shouldn't be too hard to program in a few alternative locations for
the pine installer to look in before deciding that it should download
the programs, and it could always ask the user for an alternative
location before deciding to do the download.  (the dangers of
attempting to guess the source tree by looking at dpkg internals

Is there some kind of "pride in Debian" issue that makes it desireable
to put everything needed for pine into .debs, or is there some hidden
benefit I'm not seeing to a pine-src package that a pine-installer
doesn't provide?

Let me lay out my opinion of the differences of the effects of the two

Method pine-src:
- the user who hasn't discovered debian-user or ftp.debian.org, but
just has an official CD (and barring some unexpected marketing,
official Debian CDs will be much more numerous than CDs mixing in
non-free stuff) will conclude that pine isn't available for Debian.
- the user on a high-enough speed connection to be using dselect's ftp
method will see "pine-src" in the menu and conclude that that's what
they need to install pine.
- the pine-src package will be a huge thing to download each time a
new pine .diff.gz is released.  (the "three .debs" way seems
incredibly convoluted, especially when a pine-installer can do the
whole thing in a much cleaner fashion)
- various people will get very upset about having the pine source
twice on debian mirrors - a bit superfluous, no?

Method pine-installer:
- the user with an official CD will see the "pine-installer" package
and will conclude correctly that pine has been packaged for Debian but 
- the user on a high-enough speed connection to be using dselect's ftp
method will see "pine-installer" or somesuch in the menu, note the
description and choose to install it.  Since the description will have 
said "this package will go fetch the pine source package if it's not
already avaliable", the user will not be surprised when prompted with:
  Pine source not found; enter the location of the file
  pine_3.96L-*.dsc or press enter to get the latest version from
  ftp.debian.org []
(if the pine-installer is daring enough to parse
/var/lib/dpkg/methods/ftp/vars this could be the ftp site the user had 
been using)
- The pine package won't get updated each time a new .diff.gz comes
out, unless a new pine-installer package also comes out.  This is a
slight inconvenience to the pine-installer maintainer.

I don't think that the ability of a user to install pine using no
knowledge other than that obtained by running dselect off the official
CD should be discarded.  I really think that getting pine-something
into contrib (and therefore onto the Official CD) is an important
goal, if having pine around is an improtant ease-of-use issue.

Hmmm... what if the pine installer package contained the .diff.gz and
.dsc files?  This might still be an inconvenience to the
pine-installer maintainer, but not much; I _think_ that the pine
license allows the distribution of DFSG-free patch files, but this
would also be something to look at.  (I mean, I know that the license
allow the redistribution of patchfiles, but does it allow someone to
take code found in a patchfile and use it elsewhere?  I think not,
which would make the .diff.gz non-free, wouldn't it?)  If including
the .diff.gz forces the installer into non-free, then there's no point 
in doing it that way.

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