[LAD] Releasing source code is not enough, I think...

Philipp Überbacher murks at tuxfamily.org
Wed Jan 22 22:45:08 UTC 2014

On Wed, 22 Jan 2014 16:49:06 -0500
Fred Gleason <fredg at paravelsystems.com> wrote:

> On Jan 21, 2014, at 13:10 30, Filipe Coelho <falktx at gmail.com> wrote:
> > That's why I'm planning to do a small, *developer*-oriented
> > tutorial on how to get the most "generic" binaries possible.
> > Something that can work as widely as possible.
> Unfortunately, the ambit of a downstream maintainer is a lot larger
> than just producing a runnable binary.  Just some of the high points:
> 1) Do the menu item(s) integrate themselves into the overall tree in
> a way that makes sense given the distro’s overall menu arrangement?

This is assuming some DE, and I guess such efforts are limited to the
two largest DEs out there.

> 2) Is the documentation installed in such a way that the distro’s
> native search tools can find it easily?

Also DE specific, I assume.

> 3) If the package involves adding system services, do they
> interoperate properly with the distro’s init system (SysV-ish vs.
> BSD-ish vs. Upstart). This one could use a book in its own right!

Or systemd, or ...

> 4) Can the package be installed and updated easily using the distro’s
> native package management tools —e.g. yum(8) or apt-get(8)?

Or pacman or ...

> 5) Does the package lay out default data stores and configuration so
> the app will come up in a sane state ‘out of the box’?
> 6) And so on.  You get the idea…

It honestly bothers me when stuff is geared towards specific Distros or
DEs or package managers. Some people doing this stuff simply ignore
(or can't conceive) that there are other possible ways to do stuff. One
example I came across recently is this ticket regarding dbus:
https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=50955. Reading the
comments it seems to me that dbus was written with RPM in mind,
completely ignoring that other systems might do things differently.
It's not even a big difference in this case.
Distribution guys really shouldn't write system software.

Regarding the DE integration... well, I get the impression that too many
people assume the users are running gnome, or KDE, but mostly some form
of gnome these days. Shouldn't the DE guys bother with DE integration,
and maybe try to push it upstream? They apparently don't do that, so
this is mostly left to packagers. I don't even want to know how much
duplication of effort is going on there. I also don't like how much
packagers seem to focus on DEs (mostly gnome). It may be practical to
assume a mono culture, but we are luckily not there yet.

Sorry for the rant.


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