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Re: Debian Perl Packagers' Wishlist

On May 8, 2010, at 14:45, Jonathan Yu wrote:

> Hi,
> On Sat, May 8, 2010 at 1:54 AM, Damyan Ivanov <dmn@debian.org> wrote:
>> I wonder if my usual rant about Module::Install deserves a place
>> there. In the core, is boils down to:
>>  * M:I code is copied in every dist that uses it. we have already
>>   suffered by a bug that has spread over several packages. Code
>>   duplication is bad.
> I think this is fair, and a situation we should work with upstream
> module authors to correct. I think this doesn't affect most authors
> because they release their packages quite frequently, and still
> consider CPAN (and the cpan shell, cpanminus, etc) to be the "de
> facto" way of getting Perl modules. I've been trying to convince
> upstream and have had some limited success there.
> Moving forward, I don't see too many regressions in Module::Install
> being problematic, but we can always clean inc/Module/Install.pm and
> inc/Module/Install/* before installation, and engage author mode to
> recreate those things. But I don't know if M::I is actually designed
> to always be backward compatible or not.

Aren't there risks if we go down this path? Don't we want a pristine upstream source? Do we really want to strip M::I from the source if some of our users expect it? I mean, I doubt there is someone somewhere in the world who is downloading source packages from debian and then building them all with M::I, but nonetheless, should we be removing pieces of the CPAN module?
>>  * the code that is copied in the distribution lacks any
>>   copyright/licensing information. We have to *guess*, which is never
>>   good; authors may have put their work inder inc/ too.
> I think it applies more to work put under inc/Module/Install; ie, M::I
> plugins. Otherwise the information on the copyright.pod page that I
> maintain seems to cover most things (and where they don't, people
> should feel free to add more!)

I think it should be made clear to upstream (and I think mst would be receptive, as would others) that explicit copyright on all software in a perl module is crucial to distributions. Perhaps Debian is the only distro that goes to great lengths to determine copyright for every line of code - but if there every is any patent claim or request for prior art, or even any question of licensing, debian will suddenly look like they have done their due diligence before including the software. This may avoid serious problems and in fact free software is built on copyright so if we can clearly encourage effective copyright usage in perl modules that would be a huge win.
>> If someone could extract a polite whishlist items/bugreports from the
>> above, I'd be very grateful. I won't do it myself because (1) I feel
>> rather emotional when thinking about M:I and IMO emotions have no
>> place in what is supposed to be a technical discussion; (2) My level
>> of contribution to pkg-perl is so low that I don't feel as
>> a representative of the group.

You hold the world (and yourself) to an impossibly high standard. :-) Maybe that is why you are so good at what you do. Personally I feel your criticism of M::I to be spot on.

> I don't think this message is overly emotional, you make some cogent
> arguments, and your opinion still matters, given your significant past
> contributions to the group and the Debian project.
> In summary:
> I will try to refine these points down and add them to the wishlist. I
> think the second part is definitely a problem and will be acknowledged
> and fixed by Module::Install; the first part shouldn't be an issue if
> M::I maintainers can be perfect and totally avoid regressions...

Thanks Jawnsy!


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