Re: Improving our response to "duplicate" packages in Debian
Guus Sliepen wrote:
> I believe our current way of responding to ITPs for software that duplicates
> the functionality other software that is already in Debian is wrong.
> The worst part is that when we say "but we already have N frobnicators in
> Debian, we don't need an N+1th", we imply that the N pre-existing packages are
> OK but that this new package is Very Bad just because it came late to the game.
Thanks for summarizing the problem so nicely without getting
emotional. Now I don't have to send my flame on those "we don't need
an N+1th WM" guys for the wmfs ITP. :-)
> - Don't immediately start complaining to the submitter of the ITP. Just let
> the submitter devote his/her energy to packaging.
Very important and usually the primary fail.
> Some valid reasons to do complain immediately:
> - The software is very immature (version 0.1-alpha or something like that).
> - It's a simple script or very small program, and should be merged (either
> upstream or downstream) with another package.
> - It really is an exact duplicate or a fork of another package with almost no
> changes to the original.
Thanks for this list!
> - Research how many similar software packages are there actually in
> Debian, in what shape they are, whether they have active upstream
> and downstream maintainers. Complain about the worst package in
> that selection instead.
> - Go to the root of the problem: find out why upstream thinks they need to
> write their software. Maybe they can be convinced to combine their efforts
> with that of upstreams of similar packages. The ITP submitter should try that
> himself, I think.
I'd expect that this is rather an RFP issue than a ITP issue, except
maybe when someone changes an RFP to an ITP.
But most ITPs come from people who already have reason to use that
software they want to package.
> So, keep the friction low for maintainers who are actually doing something, and
> if you really feel strongly about duplicate software polluting Debian,
> concentrate your efforts at the existing packages.
Thanks again for that very constructive and calm mail on that topic!
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