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Re: Good communication with upstream is good idea

On Tue, Jul 22, 2008, Neil Williams wrote:
> Equally, I am upstream for various projects that have packages in Debian
> - I am happy to use the BTS for upstream issues with those packages but
> I know of many upstreams who would not consider scanning the BTS and
> expect Debian to forward bugs to them. This is perfectly understandable
> and absolutely not a problem in Debian. Maybe Ubuntu should do more to
> communicate with Debian about Debian-native packages? Debian is the
> upstream of emdebian-tools, Debian is where I listen out for problems
> and issues with my native Debian packages. I am no more likely to go
> rummaging in Ubuntu than other upstream teams would be to go scanning
> the BTS.
> True, but there are areas where native Debian packages may need more
> support from Ubuntu:
> 1. Forwarding Ubuntu bugs to the BTS - treating Debian as the upstream.

 Sure; Ubuntu should forward bugs upstream.  (Various team in Ubuntu do
 so for actively used packages; it seems emdebian-tools didn't find an
 Ubuntu maintainer / contributor interested in forwarding bugs yet

> >  3) "emdebian-tools is not intended for Ubuntu but I don't have a way of
> >  encoding that in the package"; I think it's hard to tell from your side
> >  what derivatives would /not/ be interested in; I believe there are very
> >  little packages which are truly distro specific: perhaps keyrings or
> >  meta packages, and I'm not even sure.
> True (note that emdebian-tools does include a keyring package). There
> probably are very few packages in this kind of situation - typically
> native Debian packages that have a high dependency on Debian
> infrastructure. Identifying such packages is not trivial.

 Yes, and I would add it's quite subjective.  Even keyring packages
 aren't clear: consider the recent backports' keyring package.  Or
 simply the example I already gave of debootstrap-ing Ubuntu from Debian
 or vice-versa.

> >   Consider debootstrapping Debian
> >  from Ubuntu or vice versa, pbuilding in the same combinations, or
> >  creating virtual machines.  The same could apply to emdebian tools; of
> >  course there's no official Ubuntu arm port, but did you know that Nokia
> >  built many of the last Ubuntu releases for arm with almost zero
> >  modifications?  Ubuntu is also preparing an armel port.  So I'm not
> >  sure it's easy to tell whether emdebian is suitable for Ubuntu or not.
> Not sure if those builds were done natively or as cross-builds.
> Cross-building support is the issue here, in particular obtaining the
> cross-architecture dependencies as pre-built, compatible, binary
> packages.

 The unofficial Ubuntu arm port (ports actually) I mention were done
 natively for reasons outlined in the article (many packages don't cross
 build properly):
 NB: this isn't actually Debian's "arm", but uses this dpkg architecture

> >  Certainly using the criteria of native versionning of a package is not
> >  a good criteria to decide.
> True, but there are areas where native Debian packages may need more
> support from Ubuntu:
> 2. Removing those few packages that are both native Debian and highly
> Debian dependent. This is a manual step.

 This is quite subjective.  Even Ubuntu has derivatives itself (see
 above port example).  But I agree it might be best to simply remove
 some packages which might be irrelevant, dangerous, or useless clutter
 for Ubuntu users, or a waste of resources in general.

> >  So, yes, Ubuntu Mobile wouldn't make a good use of Emdebian tools
> >  because it's unrelated; however there might be interest for these tools
> >  from an Ubuntu environment.
> To do so, the binaries must exist to prepare using apt-cross/dpkg-cross.
> Currently, that is not the case and I don't think that is going to
> change before ibex is released. (If it does, by the sound of it this
> would only happen for armel and the Emdebian patches would still fail to
> apply.)

 I can't tell how it will be at the time of the intrepid release, but as
 you could witness with the third-party port, it's entirely possible
 that a third party provides a ported archive somewhere.  And it's still
 useful to run the tools again the Debian archive from an Ubuntu

> >  i)   all the packages you mention (patched packages and tools) are being
> >       imported and updated in Ubuntu regularly
> but are not available in Ubuntu as ARM binaries.

 (But might be at any time from anybody, and will hopefully soon be
 available as armel binaries.)

> >  ii)  you might want to build Debian based images from an Ubuntu env
> debootstrap can do that.

 I meant: you might want to run emdebian-tools from an Ubuntu
 environment against the Emdebian / Debian archives.

> >  iii) an Ubuntu arm port might as well exist outside of the Ubuntu
> >       official mirrors, just like the Nokia one, or might come to life
> >       later on
> And mips, mipsel, uClibc-arm, and the rest?
> emdebian-tools is not a one-architecture support package, it can support
> any architecture that Debian can support. Making Ubuntu support the same
> range is more than a little pointless.

 Anybody can port Ubuntu to these; these are not needed to make
 emdebian-tools useful for people targetting arm!  :-)

Loïc Minier

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