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Re: Ubuntu 11.10 packages from svn

From: Ivan Vučica
Subject: Re: Ubuntu 11.10 packages from svn
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2012 14:23:47 +0100

16. 3. 2012., u 11:03, Yavor Doganov je napisao:

> At Wed, 14 Mar 2012 21:38:52 +0100,
> Ivan Vučica wrote:
>> Core libraries are the most important for people to be able to start
>> developing. Once core libs are set up, apps for GNUstep are
>> trivially built.
> Not true at all, unfortunately.  For every major GNUstep upgrade, we
> (Debian maintainers) are patching nearly half of the apps in the
> archive.  Sometimes it's straightforward, sometimes not.  All I can
> tell is it takes time and effort, especially in our case where human
> resources are scarce.

Can you elaborate on what sort of patches are needed? Maybe the apps can be 
fixed once, instead of being fixed all the time. Maybe this can be solved at 
the framework level, too (in gnustep-make if the locations are wrong, or in 
-base or -gui if the apps need to look for files in extra locations).

Besides, in the quoted chunk, I was referring to the fact that once a user has 
core libs, it is (ideally) possible to trivially install apps using make/make 
install. At least it is so when I install core libs from SVN. So the core focus 
needs to be on the libs, and not so much on the end-user apps.

Libs are constantly evolving and sometimes apps depend on bleeding edge 
functionality and fixes. If the user that absolutely must get an app that 
absolutely depends on some fixes, it'd be great if at least the core libs could 
be easily upgradable to bleeding edge outside the Debian's excellent, but 
sometimes rigid, release schedule. What I mean is that I love the separation 
that Debian has between unstable, testing and stable, but even the unstable 
sometimes lags behind too much for GNUstep's ecosystem. (That's primarily 
because it depends on actual releases on GNUstep -- not a bad thing for the 
distribution, but perhaps bad for the developer or someone that needs an app 
that depends on a new feature of GNUstep.)

Just an example:
When I first started playing with GNUstep, it was missing NSViewController. 
It's something I really needed in Zcode. I wrote a hack because I thought 
GNUstep lacked it. It turned out that in the SVN NSViewController was there for 
quite some time and I felt like a fool for poorly hacking that and posting on 
the list that NSViewController should, but doesn't, exist.

>> But, if gnustep-make gets the ability to produce the debian/ folder
>> (and .debs) from GNUmakefiles, like it currently produces .nsi files
>> for NSIS, there is no need to add support to individual apps. Unless
>> customization is desired.
> That would be quite a project.  The standard/recommended practices for
> maintaining Debian packages are evolving constantly, sometimes at a
> pace which makes it hard for us to keep up.

I'm primarily thinking about end-user distribution of installable apps, not 
about packaging for main Debian repositories. Making it easier to package 
fast-evolving products as close as possible to the recommended guidelines would 
be great, and would probably reduce maintenance to you as well, but that's not 
necessarily a replacement for real packaging work by a Debian maintainer. It's 
just a piece of help for someone not interested in reading tons of 
documentation on preparing a package -- I've been there and produced a couple 
of packages, but overall it's a lot of repetitive work for each new app.

Ivan Vučica

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