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

On Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:02:27AM -0400, Rene Weber wrote:
> [...] Do we
> really mean "must" for FHS compatibility if we are advocating ignoring its
> directives for the sbin directories?  

And here we go again. Policy is *not* a set of hard and fast rules for
building packages. It has bugs, it's missing exceptions that should be
there, it doesn't cover everything that should be covered, it suggests
suboptimal solutions, it's self contradictory, it's all sorts of bad

That's what it is. Right now. It's what it's always been, too. That's
a fact of life. It's true for "may" clauses, "should" clauses, and even
"must" clauses. Policy isn't perfect.

Reread the above a couple of times 'til it sinks in.

There are two reactions to the above that can be taken; they're not
mutually exclusive.

One is to accept the policy is imperfect, and use some intelligence and
discretion to build good packages anyway. While it's not perfect it is
generally correct, and it's entirely good enough to rely on in general.
Similarly, while maintainers aren't perfect, they generally know what
they're doing with their packages, and when they don't, are generally able
to act sensibly when given advice. That reaction's what this proposal is
about, and what we've historically had: policy is a basis for helping
maintainers maintain good quality packages. It's not a law that needs
to be policed.

The other approach is to consider all these imperfections as bugs, and
keep working on policy until they're all fixed, and we can have perfect
certainty whether a package is bug-free just by running lintian over it.

Personally the latter doesn't seem achievable in any meaninful way or
particularly worthwhile; and doesn't seem achievable in any way in the
short term.


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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