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Re: Purposely broken/uninstallable packages in archive

>>>>> "Norbert" == Norbert Veber <nveber@debian.org> writes:

    Norbert> From the description of diskless-image-simple: WARNING:
    Norbert> This package can and will break your computer. Do not
    Norbert> install manually. It should only be installed via the
    Norbert> diskless-newimage, part of the diskless package.

    Norbert> Why are such things allowed into the archive?  Will these
    Norbert> things ever even make it into testing given that they are
    Norbert> uninstallable?


I no longer maintain diskless-*, but I originally came up with this
idea, so thought I probably should justify my (perhaps broken <grin>)
reasons here. IIRC, I posted my reasons on this mailing list
previously, surprisingly though, nobody responded.

    Norbert> IMHO. this is a completelly wrong way of going about
    Norbert> this.  These packages contain data used by other

Not quite.

It is a package that is designed to get installed on a NFS-root image,
in order to setup the root image in such a way to facilitate booting
on a remote machine.

I made it a *.deb package, because that allows you to use apt-get to
automatically upgrade the package on a *nfs root* partition to the
latest version.

Not only that, but the postinst scripts and postrm scripts will
automatically run, setting up the base directories (especially the
case for diskless-image-secure) using symlinks, etc, required for the
image (I can't remember now what it does, it has been ages).

That means, completely different image layouts can be archived (at
least in theory) only by changing the diskless-image-* package.

In practise, it might be perfectly safe to install on a normal
partition. Just that there is no point.  Also you run the risk that if
installation is interrupted at any time, it will only be half done,
resulting it, say, /var not existing any more (as IIRC, it gets moved
in order to replace it with a symlink). So, why run the risk only to
get a very non-standard system if there is no benefit?  Hence the
warning. In fact, I think there is a primitive check inside the
postinst script to ensure it isn't installed unless everything looks

Perhaps a better way would be to somehow include the deb packages in
diskless.deb, and somehow upgrade them from diskless.deb. This is
something I was thinking of at the time, but instead gave up
maintainership of the package, since I no longer have time to play
around with diskless systems.

Anyway, I hope this helps explain the situation a bit better. It is
now up to Junichi Uekawa <dancer@debian.org> (the new maintainer) to
answer the ifs, whats, whens, and whys about dealing with this bug
Brian May <bam@debian.org>

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