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large data archives in debian distribution

	I hope you don't mind my copying this to the list.

Galbra>Do you think it would be wise to package `data' for Debian?
Galbra>There are lot of science-related packages, so why not stuff

	I have been thinking about the same thing.  It would be nice to
have the stuff packaged and available on CD.  I was looking at a 50 MB map
file and wondering what to do with it.  There are some problems.
	a) a collection of scientific data is too large and not
of wide enough interest to go in the main distribution.  It would probably
put too much strain on archives and certainly too much on CD distribution.
	b) The data is not free software.  Much of what I find on the web
comes with a statement restricting redistribution.  Also, the debian list
would have fun fighting for six months over the question of applying DFSG
licenses to coastline data.

	One solution is to write installer packages.  This partially
solves the problem of integrating the data into a system.  However, it
complicates the user's life somewhat.  It also does not have the
convenience of CD distribution (important for 50 MB files, if one does not
have a fast network connection).

Galbra>be of general use and interest.  But where where the files go?
Galbra> /usr/lib/PACKAGENAME/data ?
	This is the defacto standard now.  However, debian is moving
towards putting static, architecture independent data in
/usr/share/packagename .
	I think at the time, the dejure standard is fsstnd.  Note that the
following is way out of date !  We have many architectures.  I also
checked on some of the famous packages that use /usr/share, and they do
not use symlinks into share from lib.  I guess they access it directly.

	4.11  /usr/share : Architecture-independent data

Any specifications for /usr/share will be included in a supplementary
draft to the main FSSTND standard.  Note that it is the consensus
opinion of FSSTND that /usr/share is not needed on the majority of Linux
systems.  At this time, confining ourselves by providing an extensive
definition of this directory would be a bad idea.

6.3  Architecture-independent Structures

The directory /usr/share typically contains architecture-independent
files such as man-pages, timezone, terminfo information, etc.  As of
this time, there are no different architectures for Linux, but with the
passage of time we should see Linux include other architectures and
other UNIX-like systems.

One note: no program should ever reference anything in /usr/share.  For
instance, a manual page program should never directly look in
/usr/share/man/man1/ls.1, but it should refer to /usr/man/man1/ls.1 at
all times.  Anything in /usr/share will be "pointed to" by the use of
symlinks from other areas in the filesystem, such as /usr/man,
/usr/lib/<something>, etc.

The specifications for /usr/share are still being worked on.

John Lapeyre <lapeyre@physics.arizona.edu>
Tucson,AZ     http://www.physics.arizona.edu/~lapeyre

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