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Path modification

I recently filed a bug report (80092) against the nmh package regarding
the location of its program files. It installs files into /usr/bin/mh,
which isn't in the path, making running the program difficult until the
reason is found.

A suggestion was made by the maintainer to file a report against
base-files to add that to the default path, but I then realized a more
serious problem. If, according to policy, no package is allowed to modify
environment variables, how should any package make the needed
change? Furthermore, doesn't this violate the policy (in the same
section) that no program can require an environment variable to be changed
in order to be run? One could argue that the program can still be run by
including the full path (/usr/bin/mh/foo), this seems to be an unnecessary
complication and something that should be added as an amendment to this

Another problem I noticed is that, should base-files actually add
/usr/bin/mh to the default path, how would this change affect those who
have already installed the base system? Would this overwrite users'
modified profiles?

This is actually my first post to a Debian list, and I was unsure of which
list this should go to. If it belongs on debian-policy alone and not
debian-devel, please respond only on the former.

Jon Eisenstein

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