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Re: Request for policy interpretation: procedure and possible outcomes for naming conflicts

Jonathan Nieder <jrnieder@gmail.com> writes:

> Stefano suggested writing to you to request interpretation of policy.
> Sorry to drag you into this.  Thoughts would be welcome, but if you'd
> prefer to hold off on interpretation until this particular story is
> resolved, that would be a fine answer, too.

> The questions (from [2]):

> - When policy 10.1 refers to maintainers reporting naming conflicts to
>   debian-devel and trying to find consensus about which program is to
>   be renamed, is that consensus among the maintainers of the packages
>   involved or some other group?  In other words, is stonewalling an
>   acceptable and viable strategy?

I don't know what the original intent of the provision was, but in general
I would interpret statements about consensus to refer to the project as a
whole rather than the individual maintainers.  The individual maintainers
are generally going to be vested in one outcome or another, so asking them
to reach a consensus is much harder.

> - Policy says that in the absence of consensus, both packages must be
>   renamed.  A number of people have mentioned that that looks like a
>   bad outcome from the users' perspective.

>   Policy also states that different packages must not install commands
>   with different functionality with the same name.

>   If a consensus develops around a solution that does not follow
>   policy, could it be implemented?

I don't know what to say to this, since this question seems exceedingly
strange to me.  The way we maintain Policy is by consensus, so if a
consensus develops around a solution, the answer is obviously yes?  Or,
perhaps, the answer is obviously no since the same consensus would change
Policy and the solution would therefore obviously follow Policy?  I don't
know if one of those answers is what you're driving for.

In general, Policy is intended to make our distribution consistent and to
help our packages integrate.  The end goal is the Debian distribution, not
following Policy for its own sake.  Obviously, if we come up with a better
solution than what's currently in Policy, we should do that!

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

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