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Intent to remove waf from Debian


after some time spent to reflect and discuss, I think we reached a
point of no return regarding waf package in Debian. I try to summarize
what happened in the past months.

Devid and I originally decided to include waf as a regular package in
Debian because several projects use it as their preferred build system,
including a waf "binary" in upstream tarballs. Such "binary" is
basically a Python script with an embedded bzip2 tarball unpacked at
runtime. Debian package provides waf script, together with wafadmin
directory, which is basically the tarball mentioned above, unpacked.

Upstream discourages using a system-wide installation of waf [1], and
tried in some ways to complicate things for distributors ([2], search
"Debian" word), and refused to provide any feedback with related build
failures, which were handled with workarounds [3][4].

Things went worse when a user complained with upstream about a build
failure while using waf provided by Debian package and an older wscript,
waf upstream contacted us asking to remove waf package from Debian under
threat to remove system-wide installation, giving us no chance to
provide a working waf package anymore. We tried to reach a compromise
[5], but it was not enough for upstream, and he renewed his intentions.

We do not believe we can solve this situation anytime soon, so we would
like to remove waf from Debian for good. I already filed bugs on those
packages currently build-depending on waf [6], hopefully they will be
fixed before Squeeze, or I will prepare NMUs if release approaches.

As a personal note, I discourage using waf as build system of choice:
during these months I realized waf introduces backward incompatible
changes every releases, this can lead to build failures very
frequently. Sticking with older releases is the suggested solution by
upstream, but may expose to bugs fixed in newer releases only.



 :  :' :   Luca Falavigna <dktrkranz@debian.org>
 `.  `'

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