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Re: Autoresponder for mail sent to bug-sh-utils, and other obsolete list

From: Philip Rowlands
Subject: Re: Autoresponder for mail sent to bug-sh-utils, and other obsolete lists
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2007 19:18:47 +0100 (BST)

On Fri, 6 Apr 2007, James Youngman wrote:

With help from Justin Baugh, I have now set up the bug-obsolete-packages mailing list. It functions as an autoresponder for mail sent to bug-sh-utils, bug-textutils and bug-fileutils. The point of doing this is that anybody using those mailing list names is almost certainly using very old versions of the software (probably 6+ years old). They should probably try to reproduce their problem with a newer version of coreutils before mailing bug-coreutils about their problem.

I think it's wise to discourage people simply re-posting their query to bug-coreutils, however the given text here is backwards IMHO.

Thanks for your mail about GNU software.  Unfortunately, you have sent
email to an out-of-date mailing list name.   The mailing list has been
renamed because the package itself has been renamed.

"software package itself" ?

The fact that you are using an out-of-date list (and package) name
implies that the software you have been using is now very out of date.
If you are writing to report a bug, please take the time to download
the updated version of the software.   It is likely that your problem
has already been fixed in the updated version of the software.

From memory of the list history, it's >= likely that the problem is answered in the FAQ. The problem with asking people to download a newer version, which I see a lot, is the expectation that they have the wherewithal to compile and run their own software. Perhaps a better suggestion in the first instance is to check for vendor updates, e.g. "It would be worth checking with the person or organisation which provided the software whether a newer version is available from them."

Users of the various long-term-support distros (RHEL, Ubuntu LTS) may not easily be able to drop in a replacement, particularly as that goes against the incremental fix-only approach these distros encourage.

... then you should download a copy of GNU coreutils, which replaced
the three packages textutils, sh-utils and fileutils on 2002-09-01.

GNU coreutils is available from ftp://ftp.gnu.org:/pub/gnu/coreutils.

Unnecessary port separator?

I think the best place to direct people for self-help, in order, is:
- the FAQ
- search the mailing list archives, give direct URL
- check for vendor update
- address@hidden with "does it fail in the latest version" caveat


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