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the Great X Reorganization, package splits, and renaming



Just thought I would bring this up one more time and run it by everyone.
This can be considered a draft of what I'd like to put in the release
notes.  The person managing that document has my permission to edit this
down a little bit.

***

The Great X Reorganization happened at version 3.3.2.3a-2, which was a
Debian 2.1 ("slink") release.

xbase used to be a catch-all package, containing all kinds of miscellaneous
data, programs, and documentation.  That is no longer the case.  Its
contents have been redistributed among other packages, and in many cases,
completely new packages have been created.

New packages were created for a variety of reasons:
  1) In some cases, there were undeclared dependencies on other programs.
     For instance, the rstart and rstartd programs depend on rsh.
  2) There are several programs which are daemons and should be split out
     for easier management.  This includes xdm and xfs.  I believe the
     programs provided in xproxy (new package) would also work well this
     way, but they are not yet handled like other daemons in Debian.
  3) Some of the X clients provided in the former xbase package, like twm,
     xmh, and xterm, have very popular replacements, and may just be a
     waste of disk space for some people.  (It's worth keeping in mind that
     all of the X source code, even the libraries, was originally intended
     to be only a "sample implementation" of various standards.)
  4) It is desirable to have a common foundation for both systems designed
     to be X terminals (which run all their X clients from a remote
     machine) and for application servers which may not need to run X
     servers on their own display hardware.  That is the purpose of the new
     xfree86-common package.  It also simplifies the task of dealing with
     any large changes in the X directory namespace that may arise in the
     future (e.g., X11R7, or simply putting all of X in /usr).

The new packages in the Debian XFree86 distribution are rstart, rstartd, twm,
xbase-clients, xdm, xfree86-common, xfs, xmh, xproxy, xserver-common, xsm,
and xterm.  Some files from the old xbase package were also placed in
xlib6g (XKB and locale data) and xlib6g-dev (development tools).

xbase is now an effectively empty package that exists only to have the
package management system automatically "pull in" the new packages (and the
latest versions of the X libraries).  Once it has been upgraded, it may be
safely removed.

Furthermore, the X font and static library packages have been renamed.  The
following list summarizes these changes:

    xfntbase    ->    xfonts-base
    xfnt75      ->    xfonts-75dpi
    xfnt100     ->    xfonts-100dpi
    xfntscl     ->    xfonts-scalable
    xfntbig     ->    xfonts-cjk
    xfntcyr     ->    xfonts-cyrillic
    xfntpex     ->    xfonts-pex
    xslib       ->    xlib6-static
    xslibg      ->    xlib6g-static

I believe the new names are less cryptic.  Note, however, that the old
packages may not necessarily be automatically upgraded to the new versions.
This is because their names have changed, and as yet there is no easy way
to tell the packaging system that a package has changed its name.  However,
there are no serious consequences of leaving the old X fonts and static
libraries around.  The contents of these packages have not changed.  The X
font server, for instance, formerly in xbase but now in its own package,
works just as well with xfntbase as with xfonts-base.

Still, it is advisable to install the renamed versions of these packages as
soon as is convenient, in the event that their contents do change in the
future.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson              |    I have a truly elegant proof of the
Debian GNU/Linux                 |    above, but it is too long to fit into
branden@ecn.purdue.edu           |    this .signature file.
cartoon.ecn.purdue.edu/~branden/ |

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