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Re: Resolving policy and practice wrt sbin directories (traceroute)

    Hello Anthony,

On Mon, Jun 25, 2001 at 03:06:03PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> No, it means you should worry about improving those packages rather than
> writing long screeds on the subject. [...]

    Unfortunately, there is nothing much that needs to be done to those
packages (which is not to imply that the mysterious appearance of a lot of
bugs filed against them would sway me from my current course!), and
certainly not much that I could do to them to make them "more important".
As for the "long screeds", there are two reasons I tend to be verbose on
these threads.  For one thing, I believe it is a lot more friendly and
constructive to give a reasoned reply rather than a spew of invective such
as is often seen on some of the Debian lists.  As such, a reasoned reply is
bound to take more space than vitriol (which by its nature can be expressed
very succinctly!).  Secondly, you may notice that I am usually careful to
reply to and attend to every argument addressed by the mail to which I reply
(and essentially all mail addressed to me).  I hope that I don't need to
argue how this is important to the process of mutual understanding and
amicable resolution.

    With that in mind, I would greatly appreciate it if you would actually
address some of the questions that I posed of you in my previous mail.  I am
particularly perplexed that you chose to cut out the portions of my mail
that I explicitly indicated were "to the point."

    For your convenience, I have reproduced some of the core questions in my
previous mail in footnote[1] if you would be so inclined to answer them.  If
you have any doubts as to my actual meaning in those questions, I would like
to encourage you to re-read the original mail[2], as there is a lot of
context there that should probably inform your responses.

>                                [...] The maintainer of the package has
> already said what the deal is: traceroute is where it is because that's
> where it is on every other UNIX, and by trying to insist that it should go
> somewhere else, the FHS is being stupid.
> End of story. Enough said.

    Fine.  What I have been asking for is an argument that this is actually
a sufficient reason to break Policy as written -- especially in the face of
a possibility of adding a symlink or wrapper.  Thus far, no one has been
willing to argue this (that I have noticed), so I must assume that it is not
a sufficient reason.  I would be very happy to entertain such an argument.

    Please either furnish such an argument, or tell me where I can find it.
Is it really that difficult to see that I am in earnest?

> If you find not having traceroute in your PATH by default annoying enough,
> make a symlink in /usr/local/bin, add /usr/sbin to your PATH or make a package
> that depends on traceroute and does nothing but provide the symlink. [...]

    *sigh*  I suppose you have missed my many posts on the subject.  I have
said repeatedly that I don't care if Policy or the packages change[3], I
just want the conflict resolved so that it is clear that Debian is not
violating its own rules.

    I recognize that there were a great many posts in the -devel threads,
but I said this explicitly at least four times, and once in my very first
post to -policy.

    The convenience of traceroute in /usr/bin is *not* currently my concern.
As the subject of this thread says, resolving Policy and practice *is*.

>                                                                [...] This
> isn't an issue for policy, nor for debate.

    I'm not sure about that.  Surely it is under the general purview of
policy, since the FHS compatibility is a Policy directive.  All I asked for
was some discussion as to the proper action to take regarding an apparent
Policy violation.  If that is not a proper topic for debian-policy, then I
would appreciate being redirected to the appropriate list.

> Technical excellence is more important than policy compliance, btw, in all
> cases. Fortunately, they only very rarely conflict.

    I am inclined to agree with the former, but I completely fail to see why
they should ever conflict, and even worse, why some people should be so
resistant to resolving that conflict.

    If the package(s) were to add a symlink or wrapper in /usr/bin, we could
satisfy the FHS, the needs of backwards compatibility, and Policy with one
action.  Wouldn't that be nice?  Won't someone please explain why that is
not an option?  Aesthetics is the only argument I've heard, and it does not
seem sufficient given that it is set against preventing the "traceroute is
in the wrong place" threads, actual compatibility with the FHS, and user
convenience.  I am, however, willing to consider arguments that aesthetics
is important enough to break the above three arguments, so any such
arguments (or any relevant opinions at all) are very welcome.

    Thank you for registering your opinion that this does not belong in
Policy.  I will be sure to take that into consideration.


[1] Questions I posed in my previous mail[2]

    "If [our promise to be compatible with the FHS] doesn't matter, should
    [our promise to be compatible with the FHS] really be in Policy?"

    "Should we admit that we are applying Policy in an inconsistent manner
    because we don't think that it matters?"  -- People probably assume that
    policy is really means "must" when it says "must."

    "If [the preceding] is not convincing, then what about forestalling the
    traceroute/FHS argument on debian-devel?  Doesn't that matter?"

    "Is this not a slippery slope? ... Does this not encourage maintainers
    (especially new maintainers) to silently break the FHS (or other aspects
    of policy) without even bothering to discuss it with others because it
    has been done before?"

[2] <http://lists.debian.org/debian-policy-0106/msg00259.html>

[3] Message-ID: <20010616153634.C5845@bauhaus.dhs.org>  "Rene, who would be
    happy if the symlinks were made or policy was changed, but not with the
    inconsistency of the present situation."

    Message-ID: <20010617153645.A31332@bauhaus.dhs.org>  "I think we need to
    make some changes somewhere (in Policy or the packages in question) . .
    . "

    Message-ID: <20010617154303.C31332@bauhaus.dhs.org>  "I don't
    particularly care which way it swings (traceroute et al. move, or Policy
    or the FHS changes) . . . "

    Message-ID: <[🔎] 20010624121848.A26216@bauhaus.dhs.org>  "I have no strong
    opinion either way what should be done, but I do believe strongly that
    something should be done . . . "

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