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Re: Bug#388399: FTBFS problems on alpha, mips[el]: Please help debugging

[Summary for the buildd people: We still need your help]

Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> wrote:

> But if the package build requires access to $HOME/.texmf-var, that's still a
> bug that should be fixed; 

No it doesn't require that.  Only if there is a $HOME directory, and it
is writable, then it is used.  Otherwise /tmp/texfonts is used

> Anyway, here's how I *am* able to reproduce the bug:

No, that's not the same bug.

>  sudo mkdir -p /tmp/texfonts/source/jknappen/ec
>  sudo mkdir -p /tmp/texfonts/tfm/jknappen/ec
>  make -C docs/psdoc
> So somewhere, there is a very, very wrong assumption that it's ok to use a
> fixed, user-invariant path under /tmp for writing out fonts.

I do not think that this is a bug, and anyway it's unrelated to the
FTBFS problem.  Previously fonts were created below /var, but this was
regarded as a security risk because users would be able to completely
fill up /var.  Now the font cache is in the users' directories, and only
as a fallback it is in /tmp/texfonts.  This was particularly designed
for machines like buildds, where $HOME might be nonexistent or
unwritable.  I think it was even discussed on -devel, but maybe not the
details.  Why should it be more wrong to use a user-invariant path in
/tmp than a user-invariant path in /var?  Note that we cannot use
directories created with mktemp or so, because it's not possible to pass
on the directory name from the process that creates the dir, to the one
that creates the font and to the one that uses it.

If the admin chooses to create an empty /tmp/texfonts hierarchy without
write access for users that need the font cache, that's equivalent to
him creating an empty /var/cache/fonts/... without users having write
access, in the old setup.  You're allowed to shoot yourself into the

> Removing /tmp/texfonts and creating ~/.texmf-var/fonts instead as root
> doesn't give the same failure.

And that's the point:  In the build logs, the output dir is below
~/.texmf-var/fonts, but it seems to be unwritable.  And this just looks
like a bug in the setup on the buildds - or instead a subtle bug in our
configuration files or scripts.  At least it's something nobody so far
was able to reproduce.

Regards, Frank

Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

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