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Re: Packages still depending on GTK+ 1.2

Morten Kjeldgaard dijo [Sat, Dec 06, 2008 at 02:27:00PM +0100]:
> For whom is the Debian distribution? Is it created to satisfy the
> needs of only the packagers and developers? If so, it is absolutely
> logical to get rid of everything a couple of years past expiry date.
> To be clear, we are not talking about applications for which a
> replacement -- often better -- exists. We are talking about
> libraries. In my opinion, Debian is also for programmers who don't
> package their software for the distribution, but distribute it
> themselves or don't distribute it at all.
> I mentioned science programs, and these are typical examples where
> the authors are not programmers who are geekily fascinated with
> every new incarnation of a graphics toolkit, but are more interested
> in developing the methods, applicability and scope of their own
> algorithms. If the menu system and dialogue boxes work, why spend
> more time on it?
> You may disagree with the above reasoning, but it is a fact of life
> of many Debian users, and it is arrogant to disregard.

I like your reasoning, but I disagree.

As a distribution, we have a committment to give proper support for
our users. But if a package is dead upstream, the best advice you can
give your users is, "you have ~2 years (i.e. a stable release cycle)
to do this change, please allocate some resources to it". And, yes, I
understand your point regarding science programs (I work at a
University and know the ways of academics). And I also understand
there is _great_ work done by people who have completely retired and
won't maintain it anymore.

That's where we step in. If _you_ want a given science program to keep
being part of Debian, well... The author will be very grateful if you
help him port it to a modern incarnation of this toolkit. It will also
increase his visibility and decrease his frustration, as most
distributions don't (or won't at some point in time) ship Gtk1.2 - If
he decides to switch away from Debian or has a student which likes
Fedora for his laptop, he will still want to install his software.

Integration- and quality-wise, it is _our_ job to deprecate bitrotten

> GTK+ 1.2 is not just any old library. It was the first truly open
> and free graphics toolkit of excellent quality, an alternative to
> Motif and the ugly Xaw widget sets, and was eagerly embraced by
> everyone. This is a central and historic piece of software.

And, hey, libc5 is also a core piece of our collective history - The
first widely distributed version of a free, GNU C library! Oh, and so
is XFree, particularly the 3.x branch. Not to forget, of course,
Emacs19 and XEmacs.


Gunnar Wolf - gwolf@gwolf.org - (+52-55)5623-0154 / 1451-2244
PGP key 1024D/8BB527AF 2001-10-23
Fingerprint: 0C79 D2D1 2C4E 9CE4 5973  F800 D80E F35A 8BB5 27AF

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