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Re: Enable external repository on package installation

On Sun, 26 Oct 2014 11:00:14 +0100
Pau Garcia i Quiles <pgquiles@elpauer.org> wrote:

> Hello,
> I am the maintainer of witty, a C++ library for web development.
> In addition to the latest version of Debian, I provide backports of
> the package for all the supported versions of Ubuntu in a PPA, and
> for Debian oldstable in an OBS repository. I have been doing this for
> years.

Backports should be uploaded to Debian backports as normal, not
provided by an external repository.

External repository *might* be useful during a release freeze but only
if there are enough dependencies to be updated that a manual package
selection from experimental is deemed to be too much work.

So, for new stuff, yes an external repo can help. For stuff which isn't
ready for Debian yet, an external repo can help. For stuff which is
just a backport of something in Debian to a version for a Debian
release which is still supported, the only sensible place is backports.

> So far, people find about this repositories in the Wt website. Many
> Ubuntu users do enable it.

Is that just because nobody is uploading to Ubuntu backports? (If
so, that still doesn't mean it's the right thing to do for Debian.)

> I was wondering if it would be acceptable
> to add a debconf question to the official package. Something like:
> "Do you want to enable an external repository which will provide you
> with the latest version of Wt?

More likely an entry in README.Debian or NEWS.Debian as well as a
prominent link on the homepage linked from the Homepage: entry in
debian/control and a working watch file.

> This repository is maintained by the official Debian/Ubuntu
> maintainer but it is not endorsed or supported by Debian/Ubuntu."

Much better to have it in backports which is supported by Debian.
> Answering "yes" would install a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/wt.list file.
> Is this acceptable? Has anyone ever done this and can talk about his
> experience?

Emdebian had external repositories for a long, long time. I uploaded
the SecureApt key for the external repo a long, long time ago. Other
than that, the use of the repository was entirely down to documentation.

Note: this doesn't preclude writing tools which enable external
repositories inside a controlled environment (like a chroot) rather
than the main system.


Neil Williams

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