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Re: Node.js and it's future in debian

* Carl Fürstenberg [2012-04-28 03:31 +0200]:
> There has been an log struggle between the nodejs package and the node
> package, which is still unresolved (bug #611698 for example) And I
> wonder now what the future should look like.

In short I think that there is only one sane solution to this and that
the way to reach this solution is to ask the tech-ctte for a decision.

This is the second thread about this topic on -devel, the first one was
in November 2011.  In both threads and in some smaller ones, people
basically claimed things like (incomplete list):
  * node is older and nodejs should have checked the binary name
  * first come first server
  * nodejs is used as node in the shebang line
  * my node is more widely used than yours (which node is meant depends
    on the year)
  * node is a daemon and there it does not matter what name it uses
  * one of them should use the binary name node
  * none should use the binary name node if there is no consensus
  * let the user decide via debconf
  * users from either group would complain if they need to use a name
    other than node
  * policy is wrong, packages should conflict
  * conflicts would be wrong

Nowadays, the popcon stats for both packages strongly suggest that most
of node's user are users that wanted to install node.js and did not
remove the node package after noticing that it is not what they

Given that node is a rarely used daemon and that nodejs is a widely used
language, I think that nodejs should get the binary name node; but due
to the non-responsiveness of node's maintainers I think this might be
a case where involving the tech-ctte would help.

node's maintainers don't participate in such discussions in a reasonable
and timely manner, for example the RC bug had no action for months
despite the patch and nobody ever explained what exactly the problem of
a changed binary name for a daemon would be (node can be used
interactively, but it is not supposed to be used that way and those
users that do would be able to set up an alias anyway).  The first
answer from one of the uploaders was sent nearly a year after nodesjs'
maintainer asked about this issue on the maintainer's list (back then he
didn't seem to notice that those who answered were unrelated to the node
package).  The subject of the -devel thread last year "Is anyone
maintaining (the ham radio tool) node?" speaks for itself.

I assume all of node's uploaders did great work on many ham related
packages, but all that the two uploaders that replied to this issue
during the last two years did related to the node package is that they
also replied to the "Call for debian hamradio developers pool" from
node's actual but now retired maintainer who then added them as
uploaders.  Only Hamish, who did not respond to this issue, uploaded
node once in 2005, the others did never do any upload.  The responses
from the other two uploaders were essentially "please report a bug"
(although this was already done) by one; and "... then no package should
get the name" and in one mail "this patch needs to be tested by someone
who runs node and nodejs" by the other.


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