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Re: duplicates in the archive

On Sun, 24 Jun 2012 18:45:54 +0000
Bart Martens <bartm@debian.org> wrote:

> About allowing new packages in Debian in general : On the one hand you have a
> point that Debian should not collect any free software, but on the other hand I
> think that it is OK to have multiple implementations of the same/similar
> functionality in Debian, and over time the popcon stats may indicate that a
> newer package wins over an older package.  It is, in my opinion, not always
> possible to judge the potential of a package before it has been in Debian for
> some time.  Having competing alternatives in Debian is OK, even good, in my
> opinion.

The maintainer has to make that judgement, it's just one of the things
maintainers have to do. popcon is no indicator here, it is about
whether there is a bug in Debian, independent of this package. I apply
the same criteria to all my packages and I have and will continue to
remove any which do not merit a place in a stable release.

What *quality* issue is meant to being fixed by a new package? If
there's none, then the ITP is invalid and the package is without merit.
Just like any other bug - if the submitter has just got it wrong (for
whatever reason), the bug can be deemed invalid. Sometimes an
improvement to the documentation can help others not make the same
error, sometimes the docs are fine and it's just a mistake.

Multiple implementations hurt the archive, waste ftpmaster time, waste
QA time, waste wanna-build time, waste Debian resources, complicate
transitions and often collect RC bugs. In short, the more duplicates
there are, the higher the percentage of those duplicates which will
go to rot in the archive, causing aggravation for everyone.

Competition is useful, surfeit is harmful.

If a new package does have merit compared to all the existing
equivalents, then explain those merits and let your peers judge the

The issue is to fix the problem in Debian, not just introduce a new
package which fixes nothing.


Neil Williams

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