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Re: Some new largish packages: please comment

On Thu, Jan 14, 1999 at 09:23:12PM +0100, Richard B. Kreckel wrote:

> I am about to build some packages of astronomical databases to be used
> with Elwood Downey's XEphem, packaged by Frank Jordan for slink. Since
> some of these databases are quite large I would like to hear what people
> think about a possible split-up. The packages will be part of non-free,
> the main reason being the fact that XEphem is in non-free

Actually, the databases could go in contrib.  It makes sense because, IIRC,
the databases *could* be used with other software than XEphem

> The biggest question is whether a huge thing like the Hubble Guide Star
> Catalg (GSC) may be put into a Debian package. This catalog lists all
> field stars of magnitude 15 and brigher. XEphem will use it in a 
> compressed format which reduces its size to 160MB.

Firsts things first:  I'd love to see *that* particular database distributed
as a debian package.

A few days ago I was pondering packaging satlas (Solar Atlas) and it's
database (13MB compressed, 96 uncompressed, 50 or so after processing to get
it into a format that can be used by satlas). The thing that stopped me from
sending the 'intend to package' message is the fact that satlas uses mysql,
and while the package itself can go into main, the database can't because it
requieres mysql-server and I have this thing against maintaining non-main

> To wrap things up, there are 5 options:
> a) 160M GSC  +  8.7M asteroids  +  4.3M PPM  +  4.1M others
> b) 160M GSC  +  8.7M asteroids  +  8.4M PPM and others        <-- nice
> c) 160M GSC  +  17.1M other catalogs
> d) 4.3M PPM  +  4.1M others
> e) 8.4M PPM and others
> of which I prefer the second. Please comment!

I like b), too.

But I agree we could make another *distribution* for this, something like
data... maybe two distributions, data and data-non-free (for things like the
satlas database)

That has several advantages...

1.  there are some developers already complaining about the size of iraf and
    it's rather "specific" application.  Now imagine what they'd say about
    putting a 160MB package into debian that contains "silly data about
    things that can be seen only with specialized devices"

2.  mirrors can easily skip that distribution if they wish.

3.  this would keep CD vendors happier, as this gets Debian closer to the
    "won't fit a DVD" size.

Thanks for the effort.  It's *really* appreciated.


PS: Has somebody talked with the XEphem author to make it DFSG-free? What's
    wrong with us in natural sciences? Why are we so infected by this "noone
    will steal my work" metality? Why do we tend to write such stupid
    licenses that only make all of us look, well, stupid. The other day I
    read the worst of them all... it practically says "I, the author, am the
    only one entitled to distribute, modify and/or *read* the code, so,
    don't even think about it!"

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