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Re: About new source formats for packages without patches

On Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 02:03:09PM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> On Thu, 25 Mar 2010, Mike Hommey wrote:
> > On Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 12:49:55PM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > > 2/ You explain that you have no reason to switch to the new formats. Fine.
> > >    I have explained you that I believe there are good reasons for
> > >    switching (I won't repeat the wiki page). Why are you insisting to not
> > >    switch when the effort to change is so low in packages without patches?
> > >    Do you have technical reasons to explicitly avoid the new formats?

> > Why are you insisting that all DDs should switch when switching is an
> > effort for no benefit[1] and not switching is no effort at all ?

> I believe there's a benefit in standardizing on a set of improved source
> formats.

But you clearly have not convinced all maintainers of this; based on past
list discussions, I would suggest that there isn't even consensus on this,
let alone unanimity.

And the lintian warning goes away by explicitly setting source format to 1,
so that's not standardizing on the "set of improved source formats"
/anyway/, that's just nagging maintainers to make a change to their packages
that AFAICS only helps your real goal if they actually *convert* the package
to 3.0 in the process.  I think trying to use lintian as a cudgel here is
counterproductive, particularly so long as the 3.0 format is still not
supported as well as 1.0 by all the peripheral packaging tools.

Please understand that I'm not /opposed/ to the conversion to 3.0; in fact,
for a new package the Debian Samba team just uploaded that has a .tar.bz2
upstream, we've recognized the advantages of using 3.0 (quilt) and when I
ran into snags in the surrounding package toolchain I submitted patches.
But the 3.0 transition should be done the way such transitions in Debian are
always done - gradually, and respectful of our maintainers' investments in
the existing tools.  Thus far, I don't think you have a critical mass of
mindshare behind 3.0, and I think it's wrong (and self-defeating) to try to
force that.

> There might be not short term benefit for the current maintainer, but
> it's a benefit for our derivatives distributions to be able to simply add
> patches in a consistent manner.

Which derivative distribution has asked for this?  Speaking with my Ubuntu
hat on, the sudden arrival of 3.0 in sid (yes, we knew it was coming
eventually, but had no inkling of a probable timeline until it was already
done) has been nothing but a hassle for us, requiring a sudden allocation of
resources to let the Launchpad archive handle 3.0 packages /at all/, and
leaving tools like merges.ubuntu.com broken for several months until someone
could find the time to make them work with 3.0.

So please don't claim to be speaking for derivatives here.  I think you're
being patronizing to both DDs *and* derivatives by telling them you know
what's best for them.

> It will also be a benefit for Debian if in 2 years some newbie packager
> doesn't have to learn about the limitations of the source format 1.0 when
> they try to add an icon to a source package or when they package a new
> upstream version that is now bzip2 compressed.

> In the general case, switching is a small effort for sure, but in the case
> pointed out by Neil (he won't convert packages with no patches because he
> doesn't see the benefit) the effort is almost null, just create the file
> debian/source/format with "3.0 (quilt)" and you're done.

Aside from all the packaging tools that aren't quite there yet with 3.0
support, 3.0 packages break two cheap generic tools that I used to be able
to use to inspect source packages: zless, and interdiff.  While this loss
doesn't outweigh the benefits, this is certainly not "win-win", and I would
appreciate it if you would try to be more understanding of developers'
natural resistance to this change.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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