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Re: Multiarch file overlap summary and proposal

Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> writes:

> Goswin von Brederlow wrote:
>> pkg:arch will still be unique and the dpkg/apt output will use the
>> architecture where required for uniqueness. So I think that after some
>> getting used to it it will be clear enough again.
> Here are a few examples of the problems I worry about. I have not
> verified any of them, and they're clearly biased toward code I am
> familiar with, which suggests there are many other similar problems.
> * Puppet not only installs packages, it may remove them. A puppet config
>   that does dpkg --purge foo will fail if multiarch is enabled, now
>   it needs to find and remove foo:*
> * dpkg-repack pkg:arch will create a package with that literal name (or fail)
> * dpkg-reconfigure probably can't be used with M-A same packages.
>   debconf probably generally needs porting to multiarch.
> * tasksel uses dpkg --query to work out if a task's dependencies are
>   installed. In the event that a library is directly part of a task,
>   this will fail when multiarch is enabled.
> * Every piece of documentation that gives commands lines manipulating
>   library packages is potentially broken.
> Seems like we need a release where multiarch is classed as an
> experimental feature, which when enabled can break the system. But the
> sort of problems above are the easy to anticipate ones; my real worry is
> the unanticipated classes of problems. Especially if we find intractable
> problems or levels of complexity introduced by dropping the unique
> package name invariant.
> My nightmare scenario is that we release with multiarch, discover that
> it's a net negative for our users (proprietary software on amd64 aside,
> nearly all the benefits are to developers AFAICS), and are stuck with it.

The specs were initialy written in such a way that single arch systems
would not change, that multiarch packages would keep functioning with a
mono-arch apt/dpkg and I think this was preserved so far.

If all interface changes foolow that idea then worst case tools will not
work in a multiarch configuration but still work in a monoarch
configuration. So let multiarch be experimental and only for developers
and risk takers. That is already a huge number of people.


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