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Bug#102213: PROPOSAL] Policy interpretation and exceptions

On Tue, Jun 26, 2001 at 12:51:52AM -0400, Rene Weber wrote:
>     I am unclear as to the import of "should generally" in this context.  Is
> this a further diminished form of "should" (but stronger than "may")?  I
> believe Debian would be better served by framing this as a "must" (after
> all, if a package is breaking policy, it does not seem to be too much to ask
> for it to document this), but I am willing to postpone any such arguments
> until after woody's release in the interests of expediency.

Uh, no, it should definitely not be a "must". There is no way I'm going
to throw a package out of the distro because it fails to mention that
policy is stupid in some way or another.

Policy is decided upon and implemented by rough consensus of the
maintainers it applies to. If you can't get that consensus for a policy
proposal, you're doing something wrong. Maintainers aren't idiots. It's
worthwhile trusting them to be intelligent, and allowing them to be
without additional bureacracy.

>     I am also unsure that this is enough to lay the /usr/sbin matter to
> rest

I'm unsure whether a thermonuclear strike would be enough to lay the
/usr/sbin/traceroute matter to rest. In any event, this proposal is more
to do with issues like #93975 and #100346, or #100472. Or things like
the abiword font-dependency issue (it needs a stronger dependency than
it ought).

> In that case, it is
> not one or two packages that are breaking policy (thus, the "rare case"),
> but a significant portion of the packages that currently have binaries in
> /sbin[1], and probably /usr/sbin as well. 

That message of Herbert's was a criticism of the language in the FHS. For
example, he lists ifconfig as something that should be in bin, while the
FHS specifically requires it to be in /sbin. In any event, this isn't about
the traceroute issue.

>     I would welcome a reasoned argument based on that, or anything else that
> will lay this to rest.  (I also note that this proposal does not seem to be
> sufficient to stop the precipitating argument from returning, as it is
> debatable if the exception is fairly applied, so we are likely to see more
> "traceroute belongs in /usr/bin" threads in future.)

Of course we are. The traceroute flamewar will come up on -devel every few
months. Similarly the non-free flamewar will come up on -vote every year
or so. Nothing'll stop this. Whining on -devel (or, rather, the cessation
thereof) isn't a particularly good reason to break things, though.

(Worrying about whether /sbin should or shouldn't exist, or what
specifically should or shouldn't be in it is off topic for this
thread and bug report. Discuss it elsewhere if you have to. Sending a
mail to -policy as well as policy bug is redundant, btw)


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

``_Any_ increase in interface difficulty, in exchange for a benefit you
  do not understand, cannot perceive, or don't care about, is too much.''
                      -- John S. Novak, III (The Humblest Man on the Net)

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