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Re: Multiarch file overlap summary and proposal (was: Summary: dpkg shared / reference counted files and version match)

On Tue, 2012-02-14 at 14:28:58 +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> I think the refcounting approach is very worthwhile because it
> eliminates unnecessary work (by human maintainers) in many simple
> cases.

Aside from what I said on my other reply, I just wanted to note that
this seems to be a recurring point of tension in the project when it
comes to archive wide source package changes, where supposed short
term convenience (with its usually long term harmful effects) appears
to initially seduce people over what seems to be the cleaner although
slightly a bit more laborious solution.

Other recent-ish incarnations of this tension could be the build-arch
build-indep targets, or the build flag settings; where the former got
recently resolved so that the right thing to do is for *all* packages
needing to eventually support those targets, or for the latter which
got switched from the seemingly more convenient to the more laborious
but correct solution, that is, *all* packages need to set those build
flags by themselves.

This is a fundamental issue with how our source packages are handled,
and the freedom and power it gives to experiment and implement them
whatever way the maintainer wants, has the price that doing some
archive wide changes is sometimes more costly, than changing something
centrally and be done with it. But trying to workaround this by coming
up with stacks of hacked up solutions will not solve that fundamental
issue, and this kind of tension will keep coming up again and again,
as long as the foundation is not reworked. Either that, or the project
needs to accept that fact and learn to live with this kind of changes,
with patience.


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