Matthew Palmer wrote:
> > > Honestly, I think that every file, or at least sub-directory
> > > tree root, should be owned by a package, except in very select
> > > circumstances. There must be good reasons for it not being so,
> > > but it's protection if nothing else. If you've claimed it, you
> > > have the authority and responsibility to mandate how it may be
> > > used by other packages if they want to use it. Without such
> > > ownership, we're very much into the realm of 'common use', which
> > > is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't stretch as far as we'd
> > > like.
> On Tue, 26 Mar 2002, Brian Mays wrote:
> > Your realm of "common use" extends to the whole system; it is the
> > entire reason that we work so hard to put together a distribution
> > that is well integrated. The concept of staking out territory in
> > the filesystem never really occurred to me. I always assumed that
> > developers would work together, not against each other.
Matthew Palmer replied:
> OK, so if there is a file used by a package but not owned by it,
> how do I find out that a package already uses that file? It's not
> mentioned in the package, but the package uses it. Now, being a good
> developer, I check the file name over w.d.o/distrib/packages and
> nothing comes up, so I assume it's available. I define how I'm going
> to store it. Now, a package I don't use uses the same filename in a
> different format, and oh! all of a sudden I've broken the file for
> that other package. Why? Because it didn't tell me it wanted it.
Please, cite me a realistic example where a file is not included in a
package (I'm dropping the term "owned by" since it is ambiguous) and it
is not either (1) obvious which package is responsible for the file, (2)
covered by policy, or (3) clear how the file should be used from Unix
tradition. Really, I think you are chasing shadows.
> I'm well into the realm of hypotheticals here (AFAIK it's never
> happened in Debian), so feel free to casually dismiss me if you like.
> But I still think that in general it's better if a file (or directory
> hierarchy, in the case of say /var/lib/dpkg) is owned by someone
> rather than just assuming that it'll be there and what you think it
Define "owned." There is more to ownership than simply providing a
file inside the .deb file. Clearly, we must assume that Debian package
maintainers will use some common sense when choosing file names (even
if upstream authors do not). If the file is common -- in that it is
used by several packages -- then the maintainers of the packages that
use it should come to an agreement on how the file is used. If the file
is very specific to the package in question, then it should be named
appropriately or should reside in a subdirectory of /etc reserved for
The problem that you are trying to address is name space pollution.
While this is a serious issue, I don't think that it merits requiring
*all* files on the system to be included in a .deb file for the sake of
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