[sword-devel] Debian and Ubuntu packages

Chris Cheney ccheney at ubuntu.com
Fri Jan 23 10:04:03 MST 2009

On Fri, 2009-01-23 at 15:54 +0000, Peter von Kaehne wrote:
> Dear All,
> As all of you know the Debian and Ubuntu packages are way out of date,
> and are falling behind more and more. To a degree this is mitigated by
> DomCox's packages, but in the end it hurts the project as it gives
> exposre to old stuff.
> I have therefore tried to get to the bottom of this and how best to
> resolve it.
> Dan Glassey who is on Sword mailing list is listed as the Debian
> maintainer. Ubuntu lists him also as their maintainer, but that is
> erroneous. A email from him to me stated that he is not the Ubuntu
> maintainer and  that he is under a lot of pressure hence unable to do
> much wrt Debian either. Follow up emails have not resulted in responses,
> so I guess the pressue is still on.
> Ubuntu gets it  SWORD related packages via Debian as no one among
> Ubuntu's own maintainers has taken up the challenge.  A mail to the
> ubuntu motu list has brought about a couple of volunteers from them, so
> that might change. Should we acquire a Ubuntu MOTU maintainer, then we
> would be able to feed up to date packages into Ubuntu - irrespective of
> what happens in Debian.
> The current deadline for package freeze is 19th February (Ubuntu 9.04)
> Not sure if anyone can manage this.It would be nice though. There are a
> fair number of volunteers there from their side.
> The alternative is to get them again updated into Debian and then see
> them trickling down.

In general packages in Ubuntu are the same as in Debian except when we
need to make changes and/or things become out of date, like with the
current Debian freeze. Except for a very few exceptions we do not
maintain long running differences between Debian and Ubuntu so if a new
version of these packages are put into Ubuntu for 9.04 they should be
updated in Debian, via sponsorship if needed, as soon as possible after
Debian's Lenny release.

> That aside several points were raised in responses I got and I thought I
> should share them here:
> 1) Diatheke - we should rebadge the CGI scripts as "examples" or remove
> them due to the security issues associated with them.

Probably should do this along with a big prominent warning that they are
not secure, if true...

> 2) libsword - one Ubuntu MOTU complained that we do not publish a
> detailed list of API changes (vs general bug fixes) from version to
> version. At least he could not find it. I guess this is a fair point.

I don't have the background on this issue but if other applications use
libsword then this could be useful and its especially needed to bump the
soname (shared object name - version number) if the API changes in a non
backwards compatible fashion, so that old programs linking to it won't
just break.

> 3) dependencies - I think we need to do some work on convincing them
> that our modules should be classified as e-books (and subsequently not
> packaged) rather than as "updates" or "plugins" and hence packaged.
> Otherwise they will continue to package bibles etc.

When a user of your application downloads an e-book does it save it
somewhere in their home directory? If so another solution to this could
be to just mask (hide from their view) the system installed version if
they have a newer version in their home directory.

> 4) GUI module manager - one of the results of them packaging modules is
> that our GUI module managers in BT and GS can not remove packages. A
> suggestion raised (and a good one in my view) was that the package
> manager could check if privileges for writing are there for a particular
> location and if not seek authentication via + use sudo. In my view this
> is desirable.

It would not be a good idea to remove the system installed ebook without
using a package manager or hooks to it. In other words don't just use rm
since that would leave the package still 'installed' but without the
files associated with the package. PackageKit might be a solution going
forward but I am not sure when it will be used by Ubuntu by default, and
I don't know if it works for removing packages.


Chris Cheney
Debian Developer
Ubuntu Core Developer - OpenOffice.org

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