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surfraw: surprized you added so many commands to /usr/bin



Hi,

I maintain the "rhyme" package, which also includes a /usr/bin/rhyme.

See bugs #201175 and #201039

For the moment I've uploaded a version of rhyme to conflict with surfraw and
have closed #201039 with it.

This is highly suboptimal though

Basicaly the major problem here is that surfraw performs *excessive*
namespace pollution:


ssta@bitech88:~/surfraw-1.0.7/debian/surfraw/usr/bin$ ls -l
total 184
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          385 Jul 14 11:25 W
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1136 Jul 14 11:25 altavista
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         2383 Jul 14 11:25 amazon
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          660 Jul 14 11:25 appwatch
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          653 Jul 14 11:25 ask
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1505 Jul 14 11:25 austlii
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          633 Jul 14 11:25 britannica
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1325 Jul 14 11:25 cite
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          710 Jul 14 11:25 cnn
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          637 Jul 14 11:25 currency
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          995 Jul 14 11:25 debbugs
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1708 Jul 14 11:25 debcontents
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1758 Jul 14 11:25 debpackages
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1165 Jul 14 11:25 deja
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          567 Jul 14 11:25 excite
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1168 Jul 14 11:25 fast
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          670 Jul 14 11:25 filesearching
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         5135 Jul 14 11:25 freebsd
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          572 Jul 14 11:25 freshmeat
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          626 Jul 14 11:25 ftpfind
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          899 Jul 14 11:25 ftpsearch
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1471 Jul 14 11:25 google
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1796 Jul 14 11:25 jake
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         2306 Jul 14 11:25 netbsd
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         2130 Jul 14 11:25 openbsd
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1253 Jul 14 11:25 pubmed
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1071 Jul 14 11:25 raging
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1538 Jul 14 11:25 rhyme
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1395 Jul 14 11:25 scaleplus
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          598 Jul 14 11:25 slashdot
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          671 Jul 14 11:25 slinuxdoc
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          851 Jul 14 11:25 sourceforge
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         2046 Jul 14 11:25 stockquote
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         2977 Jul 14 11:25 stranslate
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          658 Jul 14 11:25 sundocs
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          701 Jul 14 11:25 sunsolve
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         7079 Jul 14 11:25 surfraw
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          644 Jul 14 11:25 swhois
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          638 Jul 14 11:25 thesaurus
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          640 Jul 14 11:25 webster
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         2599 Jul 14 11:25 wetandwild
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1942 Jul 14 11:25 woffle
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta          362 Jul 14 11:25 xxx
-rwxr-xr-x    1 ssta     ssta         1035 Jul 14 11:25 yahoo
ssta@bitech88:~/surfraw-1.0.7/debian/surfraw/usr/bin$ ls | wc -l
     44

Okay, I can see that a lot of commands might be desirable here, but there
are a LOT of these with VERY generic names.  "ask", "fast", "rhyme", "cite",
etc.

The package seems to be effectively unusable at the moment (see bug #200164)
and looks effectively unmaintained to me (no upload in over a year, and no
buglog entries from the maintainer in that long that I can find.)

So, the solutions I am considering are:

1: I hijack/adopt this package, clean it up, reduce the namespace pollution
   by making each command an argument to just ONE command, and generally
   making the package fit for use.

2: Filing for its removal on the basis of the extreme pollution and lack of
   maintenance.
   
   
It looks like it needs a LOT of work to achieve 1, so I'll probably go for 2
unless someone steps forward to take it on, since my current Debian time is
very limited :(

Since there really are a lot of *trivial* to fix bugs, that have been lying
around for a year, I'd say this package was unmaintained.  It looks to me
like it could be a very useful package though.  If someone in the NM queue
for example had the time to take this, then I'd be happy to sponsor uploads
for them indefinitely.

Of course, all of this assumes that Christian Surchi <csurchi@debian.org> is
in fact MIA and/or no longer interested in the package.  He will be CCd
because this mail is going to the buglog, and if he steps forward, cleans up
his package, and does something about the namespace pollution, I'll be
happy.  If not then I'll either hijack it, adopt it, or file for removal.

CCing -devel because I'm *bloody* pissed off, and I'd like to give people
the chance to flame/give me reasons not to do this.  hijacking someone elses
package isn't a thing to take lightly, no matter how poor a job they appear
to be doing of it to me.

Cheers,

Stephen

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