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Re: Please add lzip support in the repository

Maria Bisen <mariabisen@gmail.com> writes:

> Also, I think the issue here it's not just proponents of lzip "coming
> here", but Debian people "going out", in what I reckon can be a conflict
> of interest.

This isn't what "conflict of interest" means.  This is just an interest.
There is no conflict.

Currently, Debian packaging tools support gzip, bzip2, lzma, and xz.  For
upstream releases, we therefore prefer to be able to consume a tarball in
one of those formats, since it makes working with our packaging tools
easier.  We can consider adopting another compression format in our core
tools, but this is a large decision about which we are extremely
conservative.  Adding another compression format will take on the order of
years due to constraints around support for stable releases.

We therefore have an interest in upstream source releases coming in a
format that we can consume directly, although we can recompress if needed
if an upstream doesn't want to provide one of those formats.

This in no way prevents upstreams from *also* providing lzip.  It is
extremely common to release software in multiple compression formats
simultaneously, and has been for literally 30 years.  This is not at all a
novel problem, and has always been solved by *adding* new compression
formats and then waiting years or (more commonly) decades before dropping
older formats.  I was still seeing *.Z distributions well into the 2000s,
after most of the world had long-since switched to gzip.

> As an user of Octave who wish to see more lzip adoption, I don't think
> this to be fair.

Octave's use of lzip is completely unrelated to Debian asking for xz.
Providing xz in no way prevents Octave from also providing lzip.  I think
you are inventing a conflict here where none exists.

Similarly, asking for xz to be made available because we currently support
it is in no way an attack on lzip.  I am confused by how incredibly touchy
the lzip community seems to be.

If you would like to see more upstreams add lzip compression to their
distribution method, just ask for that.  Most upstreams will provide it
alongside their other distribution formats, and then periodically look at
which ones people are actually using and drop the ones no one uses.  This
is often easy to determine from web logs.  Debian's use or lack of use of
lzip in our core packaging formats is irrelevant to this effort.

Debian already packages lzip, so in that sense we already support lzip.

If you would like Debian to adopt lzip in our core packaging formats, some

1. Calm *way* down about this topic.  It's just a compression format.  It
   isn't world peace or starving children.  The world might be mildly
   better if more people used a better compression format, but no one is
   going to die.  There's plenty of time for a relaxed discussion of the
   advantages and tradeoffs.

2. Be aware that Debian is going to move *extremely slowly* in this area,
   and you're talking about a process of years, not weeks.  This is a very
   core part of our packaging infrastructure, and we're not going to adopt
   *anything* quickly, no matter how great it may be.

3. Try to convince Antonio Diaz Diaz to either radically change his
   approach from the one he tried to use with us in 2015, or to stay
   completely out of the discussion.  His incredibly hostile communication
   style left a lasting memory, and while he may not have burned that
   bridge to the ground, he at least left some significant scorch marks.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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