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Re: No native packages?

On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 12:59:28AM +0100, Cyril Brulebois wrote:
> Benjamin Drung <bdrung@debian.org> (28/01/2013):
> > Other distributions gain from your extra work. Image the
> > opposite. You want to package a software that is only available in a
> > downstream distribution (e.g. Ubuntu or Linux Mint). Do you prefer
> > to have a non-native format or a native format?
> “upstream first” anyone?

Well, no. At least for me it has always been "always upstream,
eventually", i.e. every tier in software distribution shall strive to
have their changes integrated upstream, eventually. Which is not quite
the same as "upstream *first*".

The difference for me is relevant, because downstreams often have to
*first* patch and distribute their own versions, due to schedule
unalignment with their own upstreams. And then consolidate afterwards.
And note that the matter of schedule is not only a matter of "we have a
really fast release cycle" as, say, Ubuntu wrt Debian. Even in Debian we
often face non reactive (to our standards) upstreams, and then have to
patch our packages right away to make an upload, being able to have the
patches integrated upstreams only much later.  It's all relative,
really, and depends on the time availability of the two peers at any
upstream/downstream border.

This is why I'm personally very much in favor of discouraging native
packages wherever possible. With non-native packages, at least with
current packaging technologies, patches are first class citizens.
Downstreams can add a patch simply dropping a file in debian/. That then
remains essentially the same throughout its lifetime. From inception (by
downstream) to the moment it's forwarded either to us (Debian) or
directly to the rightful last tier upstream. Whereas all this gets a
little more complex with native packages.

This is surely not an excuse that relieves downstreams of the moral duty
of upstreaming their changes (moral duty that apply to Debian as well as
anyone else, mind you). But I think it is in the interest of each
upstreams (including ourselves) to make it as easy as possible for
downstreams to first apply patches, according to their own schedule and
needs, and then forward them upstream.

Stefano Zacchiroli  . . . . . . .  zack@upsilon.cc . . . . o . . . o . o
Maître de conférences . . . . . http://upsilon.cc/zack . . . o . . . o o
Debian Project Leader . . . . . . @zack on identi.ca . . o o o . . . o .
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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