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Re: State of the project - input needed

Russ Allbery writes ("Re: State of the project - input needed"):
> I think:
>     http://kitenet.net/~joey/blog/entry/a_problem_with_tools/
> is a big one that deserves attention.  It's been a low-level grumble for
> quite some time in various places, but it's getting louder.  It's a
> difficult problem in that it's a balance between tools that make DDs more
> productive and the ease of treating Debian packages in a uniform manner.

I absolutely agree.  This is IMO the biggest single problem facing
Debian right now.

It makes it very hard to dabble in a package when you trip over a bug
in it.  What that means is that every package using one of these
systems is missing out on bugfixes, new features and other useful
contributions that users and developers could otherwise quickly cobble
to gether.

And of course there's a sort of psychological barrier: if half the
time when you decide `I really need to fix this damned bug' you drown
in a patch system swamp, the activation energy needed to even get to
the point of trying will go up.  No-one likes to set out on a
supposedly doable (and interesting!) task and then almost immediately
choose to abandon it because it involves climbing the learning curve
of yet another a pile of administrivia.

Because we don't have a standard way of getting the source and editing
it, security and other NMUs are much harder than they need to be.  We
can't easily do source code analysis.  And of course there's no way to
automatically maintain a locally patched package.


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