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Re: Suggestions On Getting A Sponsor


Thanks for your response. I appreciate the time you took to write out the email. Even a critical response is very valuable. I would like to address some of the points you made.

I do agree that the support of web apps is not perfect at the moment. The virtual host problem is probably one of the biggest blemishes on the whole affair since there does not seem to be a good way to automate the selection and installation of the web app in a particular virtual host. I also agree with some of the other points you made about the maturity of the web apps themselves.

Plenty of web apps do not separate configuration from presentation at all which tends to make maintenance a nightmare. Streamline however has only 1 configuration file which has about 5 lines in it that set up the connection to a database back end. So I have tried to address that issue because I have run into that with other packages and found it dissatisfying as well. As far as the web app only being supported on a handful of servers, that should be taken care of by the package dependencies. There is plenty of packages in Debian that rely on certain other packages. I don't see how this is different.

Certainly some people think that web apps should be packages. I know there are plenty of highly useful and popular packages for web apps in Debian right now. IMP, Gallery, PHPMyAdmin, LDAPExplorer to name a few. While maybe not as polished as some other packages, they work very well and provide a valuable service to the Debian community. If there are policy violations that keep these packages from operating cleaning within the Debian distribution then they should be marked as bugs and they should be kept out of stable, but merely not packaging them does not encourage, the maintainers to make the packages more stable, the upstream authors to make the apps more mature, or the Debian people to tackle some of the issue you bring up about it's web app infrastructure.

It might be easy to think that people can simply install the web apps from source and configure them outside of the Debian packaging system. Most upstream sources are meant to be installed from tar balls so in theory this would work. The problem is that a lot of Debian users like the packaging system so much, they are leery of installing anything that is not packaged, since there is no dependency handing, no automated upgrades, etc. So in a large way, not packaging web apps stifles they use of web apps on Debian (even if only as a side affect).

Lastly, in regards to your disdain for a "Streaming protocol on top of HTTP written in PHP"; Streamline does not make or use a streaming protocol on top of HTTP. HTTP is the streaming protocol. Most modern media players, XMMS, Helix, Winamp, etc support streaming media over HTTP. Technically you are correct streamline is not a "Server". Apache or whatever web server you are using is the real server. Streaming merely manages the requests for media and sets up the appropriate http headers to allow the media to be streamed back to a client in a useful manner that the web server itself would be unable to do alone.

It's possible that a better description of the role that Streamline plays in the serving of media could be better worded as to avoid confusion. However, detailing exactly what the web server is doing and what the web app is doing doesn't seem like it is appropriate for the description of the package. Possibly there is a happy medium. I am glad you brought this particular detail to my attention though since it had never crossed my mind.

Again thanks for your response. If you have further comments I am always open to hear them.

Michael MacFadden

Steve Langasek wrote:


On Mon, Sep 27, 2004 at 03:01:02PM -0400, Michael MacFadden wrote:
I posted several messages to this list earlier this month about getting my package sponsored. Lots of people gave me great suggestions on how to improve the packing and other general ideas. However no one seemed interested in uploading the package. I have been monitoring this for for a month now and it looks like other people might be having a similar experience. Is there a better resource for actually finding some one to upload a package.

I'm not likely to be sponsoring many package uploads at all these days,
except for specific software I already use and need, but I offer you my
observations as they may be applicable to others' motives as well in
deciding what to sponsor or not sponsor.

Frankly, my initial reaction to your RFS was one of repulsion, for
several reasons.

It's not universally agreed that web apps should be packaged.
Packaging of web apps tends to be coarser than that of other
applications, due to poor or non-existent virtual host support; poor
integration with all but a handful of available webservers; and poor
separation of code from configuration in web apps, resulting in
excessive numbers of "config files".  Some of these problems can be
fixed by developing more mature infrastructure for webapps in Debian;
others require the webapps themselves to mature.  Either way, it's a
turn-off for many developers to know the sponsored package would never
be up to normal standards of package quality.

You also described this package as a "streaming media server":

Package: streamline
Architecture: all
Depends: apache | apache-ssl | apache-perl | apache2, php4 | php4-cgi | libapache2-mod-php4
Suggests: php4-mysql, php4-pqsql
Description: a web-based streaming media server written in php4
Streamline is an web-base on-demand streaming media server.  It allows
users remotely browse their media library and choose what media they
would like to stream.  Streamline has a robust web-base administrative
interface which allows users to configure every aspect of the server.
Streamline supports visual themes which allow users to customize the
server to match the scheme of their existing web site.

In my mind, the term "streaming media server" refers to tools such as
HelixServer and QTSS.  HTTP is not a streaming media protocol.  Trying
to implement a streaming media protocol on top of HTTP is broken; trying
to implement a streaming media protocol on top of HTTP *in PHP* smacks
of dementia.  Perhaps, if this is not what you had in mind, the
description could be changed to not give this impression and frighten
off sponsors.

I don't know if these comments will actually help you find a sponsor,
but I hope they at least give you some insight into why you haven't
found one so far.


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