Subject: (not) broken packages
To: None <>
From: Hans Rosenfeld <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 01/07/2006 12:55:30

while upgrading my installed packages I noticed that there were some
of them marked "broken" which in fact weren't. In my case, this means
www/opera-acroread7. As far as I understand, this was caused because
some dependency package was broken, but it has been fixed since then. As
I expected, www/opera-acroread7 is indeed working just fine.

So if packages are marked broken which in fact are just depending on
broken packages, is there anyone making sure this is reset as soon as
the broken dependency is fixed? And even after it is fixed (and
pulled-up into the last release), is one supposed know every single
dependend package so to cvs update them by hand?

It seems to me that this "feature" is not going to help anyone and will
be annoying at best.

If there is anyone interested in a package, they will try to install it
anyway, and if it is broken they will surely notice. And since they are
interested in the package, they will quite probably fix it if they can
or at least send a bug report if they can not. It is not clear to me how
forcing them to modify a Makefile beforehand is going to increase their
motivation to do anything about it.

And what about that threatening to remove broken packages in the next
release? Leaving them in the tree (for at least some more time) is not
going to hurt anyone, but removing them prematurely surely is,
especially if they weren't broken by themselves but just depending on
another broken package (which might have been fixed since). Doing an
upgrade of all installed packages is not really a trivial thing, I can
imagine that there are quite some folks who are not upgrading everything
with every new release. I guess those folks are going to really be pissed
off by that.

I once read somewhere that NetBSDs philosophy was "It doesn't work until
it's right". Maybe it would be a good thing to find back to that way of
thinking instead of debianizing the whole thing.

Hans Rosenfeld

%SYSTEM-F-ANARCHISM, The operating system has been overthrown