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Re: sid: libc6-2.2.5-4 kills vmware workstation 3.0

On Tue, Apr 09, 2002 at 07:29:14PM +0200, Jeroen Dekkers wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 10, 2002 at 01:31:35AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > On Tue, Apr 09, 2002 at 04:30:54PM +0200, Jeroen Dekkers wrote:
> > > First of all this isn't a Debian-specific change but a change in
> > > glibc. Second vmware isn't Debian. Third Debian goes about free
> > > software, vmware isn't.
> > 
> > Fourth, we support the use of non-free software, and we provide
> > infrastructure (such as our mailing lists) for non-free software packages.
> Vmware isn't even in Debian. This is truely a problem of vmware
> itself. IMHO this isn't something for debian-devel. Or do you want to
> make debian-devel a list where all Debian users can come with their
> problems running buggy non-free software?

What if they turned out to be caused by bugs in our free software?
Telling them to go away then would be foolish, since we want to know
about bugs, no matter how they were caused.

Apparently this breakage was caused by a change in glibc. As a general
rule, changes in the C library should not break any software, whether
free or non-free. Sometimes this is not the case (e.g. StarOffice's use
of private glibc symbols a few years ago), but bugs should be
investigated rather than casually dismissed.

> To talk about the social contract, our priorities are free software
> and our users. Somebody is having problems with non-free
> software. What is wrong with telling him that the kind of problems
> he's having is normal with non-free software and say that there are 2
> free alternatives in Debian which would probably not have those
> problems?

Because it runs the risk of hiding real problems.

Given that he'd already tried the free software and found it unusable
for his purposes, it also sounds like you need to pick better times to
advocate free software, or else spend your time improving that software
instead so that you have a better chance of being able to advocate it in
the future. *That's* what debian-devel is about - a list for improving
the technical quality of Debian. Turning it into advocacy and other
non-technical debates is the very reason why many of our best developers
don't even bother to subscribe to this list any more.

(In that spirit, please direct non-technical followups to debian-project
or private mail.)

Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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