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Re: How much interest in a "debian-science.org" repository?

On Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 12:07:40PM -0400, Kevin B. McCarty wrote:
> Dear list,
> Currently there are a fair number of repositories of science-related
> unofficial Debian packages out there.  I've been thinking that it might
> make sense to consolidate them into a single site.  This would have
> several advantages:
- snip -

I think this is a great idea and Debian-science community could gain a
lot with this central repository. But IMHO its success might depend
on the details:

1. What Debian versions will be supported (or what Debian derivatives)?

I maintain some unofficial packages related to experimental psychology
and MRI data analysis. From user feedback and the download stats I know 
that people seem use my packages with sarge, etch and Ubuntu breezy and 
dapper more or less equally often. Moreover, a single lab often uses a
mixture of the above. Therefore I try to provide binary packages for all
those distributions. 

Perhaps this is just a special case, but it might be similar with other

I know that some people simply do not care about Ubuntu, but there is
obviously a demand and most of the time porting a package to an Ubuntu
release is just recompiling it.

What I want to say is, that I would prefer a repository that provides
packages for every distribution and platform that people (maintainers)
are willing to support.

2. What are the requirements a package has to meet to be included in the
repository (e.g. license)?

If a package is perfect in any sense it could obviously go directly 
into the Debian archive. Therefore the repository will contain
imperfect packages and the question is what kind of imperfection is 
tolerated (lintian error, minor/major licensing issues, ...)?

3. Who will be able to upload packages?

If only DDs are able to upload packages the number of contributors is
(unecessarily?) limited. But if the Debian-science repository aims to provide 
the same quality and security as the main archive, there is no way around it.

If the repository is intended to be more open than the Debian archive,
and I think it should be, then I see two possibilities:

1. Everybody gets upload rights. This is simple, but might be the source
   of serious trouble.

2. Perhaps a procedure similar to Alioth would be a reasonable way to deal
   with upload rights: Potential contributers explain what they want to
   provide and get upload rights if they provide a solid explanation.
   From that point on they have the right to upload new packages, but
   not to upload new versions of packages already in the archive where
   they are not (co-)maintainers. DDs might be an exception of the rule.
   This should not limit the number of contributors and introduces a 
   minimal protection against bad guys.

   The main disadvantage is that somebody has to implement this.

I hope we can get this done somehow and I would really like to
contribute my packages.



GPG key:  1024D/3144BE0F Michael Hanke
ICQ: 48230050

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