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Re: Debian Package HOWTO. Who ?

Egbert Bouwman <egbert@bork.demon.nl> wrote:
>No day without questions or complaints about the debian package system.
>Yesterday it was Hugo van der Merwe.
>A couple of more or less random selected lines from his message:
> > ... some easy way to sync the selections with 
> >     what is currently installed ...
> > I admit to not have researched this properly ...
>Each new user has to do his own research, has to make many mistakes.
>I think this is a ridiculous situation.

http://www.debian.org/doc/FAQ/ and http://www.debian.org/cgi-bin/fom
have lots of information (well, more could be added to the latter, but
the former has *loads* of stuff), if only people would read them!
They're clearly linked from the "Documentation" page on the Debian web

>It seems to be a policy of the debian-in-group not to talk about
>the mechanism behind the package system: files that are being
>read or written are hardly mentioned in the user documentation.
>Looks like they adhere to the data hiding principle.
>What we need is a HOWTO-like document that explains everything
>about the files in the background: which file is read or written
>or updated in what way when you use any option or command.
>For instance what happens when you do a 'dselect update' with the
>apt access method. Or what happens or does not happen when you hit
>any of the action keys while in a dselect dependency screen.
>Not to mention all the dpkg options.
>Is there anybody who understands all (or most) of it and can write
>a decent howto ? 

I can probably dredge up quite a lot from my sent-mail folder, with
things that I've answered frequently. Not sure when I'll have time to
write it up well. A lot of people obviously don't read the FAQs that are
already in existence, so it's a bit discouraging ...

Can we have a bit less FUD about people having a policy not to talk
about how things work, or about "data hiding", or whatever, please? I'm
sure it's infuriating to the people who've put in all the work to write
all the good (and largely unread) documentation out there.

Colin Watson                                     [cjw44@flatline.org.uk]

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