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

Patrick Ouellette <pouelle@debian.org> writes:
> On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 08:26:47PM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> Indeed, and I'm very grateful for that.  But realistically that was
>> also a lot easier than renaming Node.js's interpreter, and I think the
>> CITI folks did actually know that was coming.  The conflict had already
>> been pointed out in the Kerberos community and had been discussed prior
>> to it coming up here.  But more significantly that library was
>> essentially used only by NFS, so only a few clients had to change and
>> the renaming was fairly straightforward.

> The Node.js developer KNEW there were other binaries named node, and
> just went on as if it did not matter.  Check the development
> history/blog.

The important part is the last sentence: changing the name was fairly
easy.  Also, upstream was willing to change it, which in this case I doubt
is the case (although we can certainly ask).

>> Node.js is at this point another matter; it's the topic of books,
>> widespread use independent of the upstream developers, and lots of
>> articles and Internet documentation with a life of its own.  A quick
>> Google search comes up with tons of indepedent sites telling people to
>> run programs with "node <script-name>".  That makes renaming a much
>> more difficult prospect.

> And the ham radio binary is the subject of sections of how-to's and
> books on amateur radio.  It also has "a life of it's own" in the ham
> radio community.

That community is much smaller, and the binary isn't invoked directly by
users, which makes the impact fairly minimal in practice.

You aren't going to get any argument that the Node.js upstream did
something that was at the least rude.  But we have no control over that,
unfortunately.  We have to live with the consequences, and I think
usability for our users is more important than fairness if they come
directly in conflict, which I think they are in this case.

> If a binary's name is simply a matter of a popularity contest in Debian,
> at some point every name may be made to change.

I think that assertion is unsupported.  We don't encounter situations like
this that frequently.  We will continue to encounter them, but I think
we're talking about a case every year or two.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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