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Re: Bug#790933: ITP: drive - Google Drive tool

On 07/05/2015 10:46 PM, Tomas Pospisek wrote:
> Am 05.07.2015 um 09:15 schrieb Jackson Doak:
>> It might be possible to rename the binary and symlink "drive" to it,
>> which would allow you to give the binary name over easier
> Top-posting in a thread breaks the flow of the messages - as you can see
> here.
> The way to go here would be the alternatives mechanism, which serves
> this purpose.
> *t

I disagree: the alternatives mechanism is a bad idea for something
like this. It was designed to provide a way to switch between
different alternatives that offer the _same_ basic functionality,
such as

 - default web browser, X11 session, etc.
 - multiple versions of the same software
   (Java VM, C Compiler, Autotools, etc.)
 - default interface for a specific tool
   (e.g. which aptitude frontend, which pinentry frontend, etc.)
 - which implementation of a common interface should be used
   (awk, nc, telnet, traceroute, etc.)

On the other hand, if two tools provide vastly different
functionality with the same command, the alternatives mechanism is
definitely not the right way to go. Say for example you have a
ficticious command 'foo': Software 'afoo' provides a tool with
that name to compile your grocery list, software 'foobar' provides
a tool with that name to display the current date and time. The
alternatives mechanism is not the right way to handle this, since
both are not alternatives to the same kind of tool - but rather
just things that happen to clash in name.

See man:update-alternatives(8):

  "It is possible for several programs fulfilling the same or similar
   functions to be installed on a single system at the same time. For
   example, many systems have several text editors installed at once.
   This gives choice to the users of a system, allowing each to use a
   different editor, if desired, but makes it difficult for a program
   to make a good choice for an editor to invoke if the user has not
   specified a particular preference.

   Debian's alternatives system aims to solve this problem. A generic
   name in the filesystem is shared by all files providing
   interchangeable functionality. [...]"

So in my eyes, this leaves two options here

 - rename the binary in Debian to avoid reserving such a generic
   name (I strongly advocated for this elsewhere in this thread)

 - use the upstream name and reserve it for the foreseeable future
   in Debian (which I don't think it's the right thing to do, but
   it's definitely better than using alternatives or direct
   symlinks for this, because both are worse solutions for this
   use case)


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