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Intent to "hijack" the dhelp package

Hi all,

    As Javier noted just after releasing Sarge [1], we need better
documentation integration tools in Debian. Yes, we have dhelp [2], but it
lacks loads of features, and it's not what I would call "in shape" [3]. I have
tried to fix this situation, mostly by organizing and merging bug reports, and
writing a couple of patches for them.

    I have even rewritten dhelp_parse, one of the main utilities, in Ruby [4]
(mostly because it's a huge PITA finding and fixing bugs in a largely text
processing program... written in C). It maintains compatibility with the
documentation database, so it's a drop-in replacement. At least it should :-)

    I have tried to talk to the maintainer several times, but, although he
replied to the first messages, he has been pretty unresponsive to the most
important ones. I understand that now is probably the _worst_ moment to make
potentially disruptive changes to any package, so what I propose is:

    1) Give Stefan some time to reply.
    2) Make a list of interested people, so we can start a group (a package
like dhelp should be maintained by several people IMHO), and take the old
Alioth project [5] back to life.
    3) Start discussing a pending problem, related to dhelp _and_ other
packages: the official section list [6].
    4) Perhaps, set up a wiki with ideas.
    5) Perhaps even upload the Ruby version to experimental, so people can
start playing with it.

If Stefan doesn't reply and nothing weird happens, I plan to hijack the dhelp
package *after releasing Etch*.

    Best regards,

1. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2005/06/msg00462.html
2. http://packages.debian.org/dhelp
3. http://bugs.debian.org/dhelp . In particular, see the bug ages.
4. http://people.debian.org/~zoso/arch/dhelp--ruby--0.5/ if you're curious
5. http://alioth.debian.org/projects/dhelp/
6. See my comments at the end of http://bugs.debian.org/19076

Esteban Manchado Velázquez <zoso@debian.org>
EuropeSwPatentFree - http://EuropeSwPatentFree.hispalinux.es
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