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Debian's problems, Debian's future



I looked over the current mencal-or-not discussion and talked to an
Ex-Maintainer. I think it is time to point out some bad trends in
Debian, which must be stoped, otherwise the whole system is going to
collapse, sooner or later.

1) Large packages files

dpkg and apt are designed to manage all the data in one single volume.
This may have worked fine in Slink times, but now, the volume explodes.
We need to make decissions. I suggest a three level structure:

first level: often used packages, max. 500-1000. This volume is used as
  primary target for dpkg/apt operation. It contains same data as
  Packages files handle now

Second level: names of additional packages and keywords (remember
  Erich's proposal)

Thirth level: Rest of data, acompanying the second level.

2) dpkg's internal structure

I am not very familiar with dpkg's internals, but my impression says,
that it needs memory and number of disk access times with O^2 or more.
shlib's, list files, thousands of postinst files with same and same
function could be replaced with an good database - saving space
and increasing speed. <disclaimer>Yes, I propose to change important
things. Yes, this is best done with a newer package format. No, I do not
want to port RPM.</disclaimer>

3) Debconf's usage.

The current debconf'isation and how it is often done, confuses more
and more. Preinst and postinst scripts bomb you with thousands of
questions before you even got a chance to have read the docs.
We need an additional level for package's configuration state:
"fine-configured". Only essential things are configured to get the
package into the "configured" state. For all fine configuration, the
user can invoke a frontend (GUI/TUI with list selection, or CLI like
dpkg-reconfigure) and manage the rest.

4) Localisation: We need to provide better localisation. I am very
disappointed about base-config, which is not localised while
boot-floppies have good localisation support. We should have additional
package attributes which can be replaced by apt, so specific packages can 
get higher Priority: depending on the country settings.

4.5) I suggest to use UTF8 as the default internal format. Unification
at this point may prevent breakage letter.

5) Configuration issues. The current stat is bad. Look at Knoppix, they
manage to configure X for Debian without much user interaction. It is
still not possible to make GPM and X to work together. Why cannot
Branden and Zephaniah not work together?

Gruss/Regards,
Eduard.
-- 
-"640 K ought be enough"
Bill G. , 1984
-"The Internet is not a primary goal for PC usage"
Bill G. , 1995
-"Linux has no impact on Microsoft's strategy"
Bill G. , 1999

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