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Re: buildd administration -- TeX related FTBFS

Osamu Aoki <osamu@debian.org> wrote:

> Hi,
> I realize TeX is tough program to maintain. Thanks to Frank.
> One quick and easy way to avoid TeX related build issues are to avoid
> using TeX related tools during build time.  So the results will be
> Debian only ships documentations in plain text and HTML.  (No PS and no
> PDF).  But is it what we should do?

Personally, I mostly work with the html versions if available (and with
txt for grepping) and when I am sitting at the screen, but for important
pieces of software I frequently print out a pdf or ps version, to be
able to scribble some notes and stick post-its on it and read when the
PC is switched off.  Therefore I think we should have both.

Anyway, the main problem is not so much that teTeX doesn't have enough
maintainer power, but rather that many packages that generate (La)TeX
code for documentation purposes are either basically unmaintained, or
maintained only by users that don't know about the underlying TeX
problems; and it seems to me that some of this also true for the
respective upstreams.  What makes a teTeX update hard is that it becomes
the teTeX maintainer's task to find all the bugs in other packages,
write patches, and often NMU and contact upstream.

> For example, when I got FTBFS RC bug due to tetex, I reassigned it to
> tetex.  I should have reduced severity but I did not do it partly
> because of my wish to get Frank's attention and his assistance to fix it
> from Tetex package.  Sorry.  This may be the reason Frank felt about
> FTBFS/RC.  It is not FTBFS for him and that was not RC for him.

Yes, but for the issue that is in question here ("How long is it
acceptable to have a package in unstable with a dummy bug to prevent
testing migration") it just doesn't matter whether it's my bug or
yours.  And of course I can't blame it on you that a package that you
use for building your docs doesn't work together with teTeX-3.0, and has
a maintainer who cannot solve the problem on their own; and I cannot
blame them, either.

> I wish that tetex upgrade happens more like gcc upgrades.  So testing
> both versions are much easier and, if needed, we can specify older
> version ones.
> I think one to ease tension is to make tetex packages to coexist in
> archive just like many gcc.

That would be nice - but it would cause even more work, I fear.  And it
would be the cause of even more bugs, because you can't just simply use
one symlink pointing to the right place, but need to maintain a complete
tree of TeX input and configuration files, in a setup where users can
mix up trees with one changed line in the central configfile...

Regards, Frank

Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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