considered harmful - redux

Felipe Sateler fsateler at
Tue Mar 20 15:07:01 UTC 2012

On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:41, Stefano Zacchiroli <leader at> wrote:
> [ moving discussion to pkg-multimedia-maintainers ]
> On Mon, Mar 05, 2012 at 04:42:50PM +0100, Reinhard Tartler wrote:
>> A recurring problem we have in pkg-multimedia is that
>> provides packages that replace both applications
>> and libraries that we already ship with Debian.
> <snip>
> Thanks for this summary, Reinhard. I was aware of most of it, although
> probably many others on -devel were not.
>> Friendly discussion with the maintainer of to
>> not replace libraries such as libavcodec and friends have failed
>> ultimatively (BTW, that is part of the reason why we've ended up with
>> an epoch of '4', dmo uses epoch '5');  he has repeatedly shown that is
>> not interested in collaborating with pkg-multimedia at all. He also
>> does not seem interested in installing libraries in a way that they do
>> not interfere with 'official' Debian packages (e.g., by changing
>> SONAMES, or installing in private directories, etc.).
> I'm concerned about the above, as well as by the fund-raising on
> debian-multimedia.o which have no disclaimer of non affiliation with
> Debian.
> I'd like to know if, in the opinion of the Debian Multimedia Team as a
> whole, is currently more harmful than useful to
> the Debian Project and its users.

As far as I can see, yes. The issues are caused by dmo containing
packages which have the same names as debian main, but are not
necesarily compatible (in particular, the libav family of libraries
has been very conflictive). However, with the current status of debian
main, it is my opinion that dmo can just drop the packages since the
reason for their existence is largely gone now (at least, from a
technical pov):

In the past few months, some team members have worked hard in bringing
missing packages from dmo into debian main. As a result, several
important (as in, a multimedia reason to use dmo) libraries have been
uploaded to debian (lame, x264, gpac, xvidcore). Notably missing is
still mythtv, though.

> We're in no business of having to comment on an all unofficial package
> repositories out there. But for those that (1) carry the "Debian" name
> and/or (2) are run by Debian Developer we are in a position to comment.
> In particular: strictly speaking (1) is a violation of the Debian
> trademark policy unless we explicitly authorize it. Regarding (2), we
> should expect from all Debian Developer not to get intentionally in the
> way of work done within the Debian Project by the means of work done
> outside of it.
> If all past discussions with the debian-multimedia maintainers have
> failed, and if the team thinks there is still a problem, then we should
> use the above arguments to reopen discussions.
> Ideally, we should try to come to technical agreements that allows the
> two repositories to coexist with minimum hassle for both official Debian
> packaging initiatives (i.e. your work) and the users.  If that will fail
> again, everyone will then be free to go its own path, but at that point
> not using the "Debian" name on both sides.

>From what I understand, all that is needed is that Christian stop
providing packages already in debian. There is not much reason in
doing so anymore. There are a bunch of packages that may still be
useful to people, but as long as dmo insists on 1. providing packages
already provided in debian, 2. with higher version numbers, and 3. not
caring about binary compatibility. Since neither 2 or 3 have been
possible in the past, I fear the only possible technical solution is
number 1.

> Note that I explicitly ask for a team position on this matter. I'm well
> aware of Reinhard position, also thanks to his mail, but I'd like to
> understand if his is the uniform view on the team, or if there are other
> positions within the team.

My impression of reading this list for a few years is that this is
indeed the team members position, or at least the position of the
people that care enough to speak up.


Felipe Sateler

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