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Re: duplicate functionality in packages [was: lintian & linda]

On Sun, Apr 10, 2005 at 11:33:24PM +0200, Bernd Eckenfels wrote:
> In article <20050410202900.GA19943@darkmoon.home> you wrote:
[mjp: I sure didn't write this, but that's how it's been attributed...]
> > Whenever someone submits an ITP for the software A, whose functionality 
> > is already provided in Debian by B, the standard question is "Why is A 
> > better than B? From your long description it is not clear which are the 
> > aspect that make them different."
> This standard question is annoying and unneeded. There is no point in
> deciding for one or the other package. And this is a quite new trend that
> debian community start to think they have the right to pick. 

There's two reasons for this trend, IMO (as one who asks these questions on

1) If there are differences with other existing packages, they should be
properly enumerated to give potential users the best chance of picking the
correct package for their needs.

2) The potential maintainer may not have chosen to duplicate existing
functionality, but has merely missed the alternatives in the insanity that
is the Debian software archive.  In that case, pointing out the existence of
alternatives may cause the packager to use the existing code instead of
making another new package (thus bloating the archive still further).

Before you say "but that might leave a superior alternative out of Debian",
note that: (a) it might also leave an inferior alternative out of Debian,
and (b) If the new package is superior, then it's unlikely that the potential
packager will choose to use the inferior one anyway.

- Matt
(Combating archive bloat via ITP-analysis since 2003)

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