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Re: Bug#201023: dosemu: purging doesmu wipes out all user data under /var/lib/dosemu)

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[CCd to -devel, because I'm very unhappy with the maintainer's
response to what I consider to be an RC bug.]

owner@bugs.debian.org (Debian Bug Tracking System) writes:
> This is an automatic notification regarding your Bug report
> #201023: dosemu: purging doesmu wipes out all user data under /var/lib/dosemu,
> which was filed against the dosemu package.
> It has been closed by one of the developers, namely
> Herbert Xu <herbert@gondor.apana.org.au>.

Herbert Xu <herbert@gondor.apana.org.au> wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 12, 2003 at 10:43:50PM +0100, Roger Leigh wrote:
>> Package: dosemu
>> Version:
>> Severity: critical
>> I have set the severity to critical, because the current postrm script can
>> cause very serious data loss.
>> I dual boot with Windows98, and I have my Windows98 partition (/dev/hda1)
>> mounted on /var/lib/dosemu/windows.  I use this to run DOS applications
>> (and my day job currently involves DOS application development) using the
>> DOS partition directly.  It's mounted read-write.
>> I came to purge dosemu today, and when I next booted into Windows, I got a
>> boot failure and a prompt for a system disk....  Looking at the dosemu
>> postrm:
>> purge)
>> 	rm -rf /etc/dosemu /var/lib/dosemu
>> 	;;
>> Yipe!  Debian Policy (section 6.7, Details of removal and/or configuration purging)
>> states that "purge" is for the removal of configuration files (which are not
>> removed by "remove").  It is surely not to remove anything else!
>> Please remove the "rm -rf" from the postrm.  dpkg will handle the conffile removal,
>> and if the user has left any data under /var/lib/dosemu, you should assume that it
>> is important to them, rather than nuking it.  In my case you are lucky--I keep a
> If it is important to you, then don't put it under /var/lib/dosemu.

/var/lib/dosemu is where the user is expected to install their DOS
operating system, programs and data files (even if it wasn't, your
postrm is brain-dead).  These files are all important to me.  Yes,
it's possible to install them elsewhere, but this is where dosemu
suggests you put them, and as my DOS system was also a standalone
filesystem, it made sense to mount it under there.

Why do you think only unimportant data should be put under there?
Have you documented this and amended the dosemu documentation?

> This is a directory owned by the dosemu package and it will ensure its
> removal upon purging.

Why?  Just let dpkg remove the conffiles and, if you really must, do
something *non-destructive* like:

if [ "$1" = purge ]; then
        # Remove these directories if they are empty
        rmdir --ignore-fail-on-non-empty /etc/dosemu
        rmdir --ignore-fail-on-non-empty /var/lib/dosemu

I can't see any earthly reason why you need to nuke *everything*.
Read dpkg(8) and look at the description of "purge".  It's to remove
*configuration files* (and potentially also data generated by the
package), not blindly wipe out whole parts of the filesystem.  Your
postrm is taking unwarranted liberties with *my* system--it wiped out
a 4 GiB filesystem.

> If you want to keep data around even after purging a package, do not
> put it under a directory owned by that package.

But this is where the user is expected to install their data.  I
purged it with the expectation of re-installing it later on, and I was
not expecting it to wipe out an entire filesystem.

Frankly, I'm shocked at your attitude.  Do you even care about your
users' valulable data?  I think you should re-evaluate what "purge"
means, and whether you *really* need to "rm -rf" anything (you don't).

Apache and PostgreSQL don't wipe out your website and databases when
you purge them, so why do you think this is acceptable behaviour for


- -- 
Roger Leigh

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