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debian-multimedia.org considered harmful, Was: Unofficial repositories on 'debian' domains

On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 9:29 AM, Thijs Kinkhorst <thijs@debian.org> wrote:

>> But before getting there, the question is whether the existence of the
>> website (and its popularity) poses problem to Debian reputation and/or
>> to the activity of official Debian multimedia packaging. I think this is
>> a question for the Debian Multimedia Maintainers (as in
>> <pkg-multimedia-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org>) to answer. If they
>> see a problem with debian-multimedia.org, we should get in touch with
>> the website maintainers and solve the issue.
> Of course, one of the reasons debian-multimedia exists is precisely
> because it's unofficial: it can package things that Debian out of policy
> doesn't want to package. This is not something that can necessarily be
> solved on a packaging level.

A recurring problem we have in pkg-multimedia is that
debian-multimedia.org provides packages that replace both applications
and libraries that we already ship with Debian. Especially for
libraries, this can (and in fact, this does happen regularly) lead to
crashes which are very hard to diagnose. Therefore, we have a policy
to just close a bug with a very short explanation if we notice that
the crash involves a package from debian-multimedia.org; everything
else is absolutely not worth the trouble. Cf. also [1].

Friendly discussion with the maintainer of debian-multimedia.org to
not replace libraries such as libavcodec and friends have failed
ultimatively (BTW, that is part of the reason why we've ended up with
an epoch of '4', dmo uses epoch '5');  he has repeatedly shown that is
not interested in collaborating with pkg-multimedia at all. He also
does not seem interested in installing libraries in a way that they do
not interfere with 'official' Debian packages (e.g., by changing
SONAMES, or installing in private directories, etc.).

While debian-multimedia.org has gained a reputation of providing
packages, which were desperately lacking in Debian,
IMO this repository has turned into a major source of trouble and
pissed users provoking flamewars in the recent past. There is still a
number of remaining multimedia-related packages that we still lack in
Debian, and pkg-multimedia is working on getting at least the most
popular ones packaged and uploaded - help, as always, is of course
very appreciated. [2]

In summary, I can only advise everyone against enabling that
repository on any machine.

[1] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianMultimedia/FAQ

[2] There are also a few additional, non-multimedia related packages,
such as acroread and similar non-free stuff. If you really need those,
I'd suggest to install them without enabling the repository via apt.


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