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

    Hello Steve,

On Thu, Jun 28, 2001 at 02:20:55PM -0500, Steve Greenland wrote:
> Will you *please* stop harping on this? A substantial percentage of us
> think we *are* following the FHS w.r.t. sbin and traceroute. You don't
> agree, that's fine, but please stop making this statement as if your
> opinion is unarguable fact.

    I'm sorry to have kept harping on this, but the fact is that I thought
it was uncontested, and as it was a cornerstone of my subsequent arguments,
I thought it beared repeating.

> I personally don't *care* where the actual binary is, so long as it is
> accessible via /usr/sbin/traceroute (because removing that *will* break
> things, as has been explained multiple times). The point is that the

    I agree completely.  (Again, I've stated this a great many times, but
apparently it does bear repeating.)

> FHS, *as published* (v2.2), says nothing specific about traceroute. Any
> private communications you have had with FHS developers are irrelevant
> to Debian Policy unless and until the FHS is modified. If and when

    I agreed that it was possible that there was an interpretation of the
FHS that permitted traceroute to be where it is (or at least I indicated
clearly that I was willing to entertain arguments that that was a possible
interpretation -- in fact, I explicitly asked for such arguments[1]
repeatedly) until the statement from the FHS co-editor[2].  At that point, I
asked for dissenting opinions (although, it is true, not specifically on
that subject) and I don't believe anyone argued that we were following the
FHS in light of (or despite) the FHS co-editor's clarifying statement until

    I drew my conclusion that the FHS co-editor's statements had the effect
of Policy (and my understanding of Policy at the time was that it was very
strong) based on Policy's statement that "specific questions about following
the standard may be asked" of the FHS editor[3].  I later even questioned
this assumption[4], indicating that a related question "is a weak point in
my argument, and I'd welcome alternate arguments."  That is, I handed "the
other side" an argument similar to the one that you are making (although not
exactly), and no one argued it.  In the absence of argument to the contrary,
I think it is reasonable that I proceeded with the assumption that the FHS
co-editor's clarification was binding.  (As you point out now, that
assumption is flawed, and I accept that criticism.)

    My assertion that traceroute is breaking Policy by breaking the FHS
rests on whether we accept the word of the co-editor of the FHS as
authoritative (for clarification purposes, as Policy mentions), or if it
must be documented in the FHS proper.  I hereby admit that my (original)
position that the clarification letter is authoritative may be flawed,
although I am not convinced that we need it documented in the FHS proper
either given the "clarification" clause in Policy.

    I do also note that this was not strictly personal mail between me and
the FHS co-editor, as I promised him that I would report his decision back
to the list.  I'm not sure that makes a difference, I just wanted to make
that clear.

> that happens, I will support you 100% in getting the binary moved (so
> long as the link in /usr/sbin remains). In the meantime, the package
> maintainer believes that traceroute is an administrator program, and
> belongs in /usr/sbin. That is his perogative: see the constitution. If
> your response to that is "But he's in violation of the FHS", please go
> back and re-read the preceding paragraph.

    Assuredly not, I would not baldly argue that now that an objection (that
addresses the letter of clarification) has been raised.

    I appreciate your response and opinion.  If you still think (after
reading my opinion above) that the statement from the FHS co-editor is
irrelevant to Policy, I'd appreciate knowing that so that I know to further
give less weight to that opinion of mine.  Personal mail is fine if you
don't want to litter the list with a simple yes or no answer.


[1] <http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0106/msg00938.html>, for example.
[2] As reported in <http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0106/msg01005.html>
[3] <http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-opersys.html>
[4] <http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0106/msg01031.html>

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