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Bug#49962: Old and new man pages - clean solution possible.

Closing Bug 49962, Raphael Hertzog <rhertzog@hrnet.fr> writes:

> Everything has been said, and there's no clean
> solution. It would be a crude hack to make (all or most of
> the) packages conflict with an old man-db simply because
> the man page moved.

That'd be a crude hack indeed.  But aren't there any smarter
ways to go about this?

Here is an attempt at a clean solution:

Provide a new package "port-man-db".  This package is very
small, mainly consisting of one single shell - script
/usr/sbin/port-man-db .

This script checks wether man-db is installed on the system
at all.  If it isn't, the script does nothing.  If the
script finds the old man-db, the neccessary tweaking is done
to get it to accept new pages.  When the script runs a
second time on an old man-db system, it finds its own
tweaking in place and does nothing more.  If the script
finds the new man-db, nothing is done, either.

All new packages simply require this small "port-man-db"
package as a dependency.  As part of the installation
procedure, they call the script.

That's all there is to it.  I propose it's a clean and easy
solution.  Much cleaner as the present solution, at any

[The only case I can think of this would not solve:

A new package is installed on a system without previous
man-db installation.  Some time later, the old man-db is
installed.  This would leave the new manual pages
unreadable, but only until the next new package is

> The Debian dependencies are used to ensure that a program
> will work, Debian is about software after all.

In my opinion, "man" is software, too.  Also, a program
that's not documented does not "work".

> For a complete consistency of your system (including
> documentation), you should use a precise distribution and
> not part of slink with part of potato.

I buy a set of CDs when a new official Debian release comes
out, and upgrade my entire system at that time.  From then
on, as time passes, I do not want to have to stick with the
old stuff.  Of certain software, I like to have the bleeding
edge version.  (And I am willing to be a beta tester and
submit bug reports dilligently.)  In short: Debian gets one
more beta tester, I get a nice up-to-date system, everybody
is happy.

On the other hand, I'm connected to the internet only
through a fairly slow line, so I don't want to make my ISP
happy by regularily upgrading the *entire* thing (they
charge by the minute).  Getting "a precise distribution" is
not an option for me, most of the time.

The Debian dependency system, by it's very existence, claims
what I do can be done.  The manual page problem does not, in
fact, break that claim.  Not even if you do consider manual
pages important (as, incidently, I do).

Coming back to your statement

> Debian is about software after all.

Debian is, again in my opinion, not about software.  We only
needed a big ftp server, if all we cared about were software.

Debian is about a lot of different software playing together
in a meaningful manner.  Debian is about integration.  To
"Debianize" a piece of software is to integrate it into the
Debian whole.

I took the liberty sending a reopen to
control@bugs.debian.org, with a command to reassign the
severity to "wishlist" (as this would be difficult to
implement).  Please, don't be offended.  It's your decision
wether you want to follow up on this or close it again - I
promise I won't reopen it a second time.  (But, again I say:
please, don't tell me it cannot possibly be done.)

With respect and gratitude for the good work Debian
maintainers do,



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