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Re: Library packages depending on data files

On Thu, Feb 05, 2004 at 10:43:27PM +0100, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 05, 2004 at 01:37:45PM +0000, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> > Because ABI breaks may be accompanied by large API breaks, and
> > applications that we wish to ship may not be ported to the new API. See
> > the large number of GTK 1 applications, for instance. Not all Gnome 1
> > applications have been ported to Gnome 2, and refusing to support those
> > on the basis that it makes testing a bit uglier for a while is foolish.
> > Not to mention the closed-source applications that we wish people to be
> > able to run.
> I understand this problem for GNOME.
> But GNOME is an exception, the vast majority of new so-versions of 
> libraries don't contain large API breaks.

Not all programs installed on people's systems are shipped by Debian.
Plenty of people build programs locally, and if we can avoid breaking
those when they upgrade their systems to newer versions of Debian then
we should.

I know of a system running woody which still has a libc2 (!) binary,
along with several libc4 binaries. As long as the administrator leaves
the relevant library packages installed, then there is no reason why
these shouldn't keep working essentially forever. The same goes for
libraries other than libc. Your proposal makes administering Debian
systems more painful, because you have to rebuild locally installed
programs on upgrade rather than just leaving the old library versions
installed until it's convenient to rebuild. Considering that many people
adopt an "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" approach to locally
installed software, it's bad design to require them to mess about with
it when upgrading from one Debian release to the next.

Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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