Debian Weekly News - email

From: Seth Cohn <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 14:53:56 -0700
Subject: DFMR (Deb Freshmeat Repository) lives!

Joey, could you give this a mention in the Weekly news please?
(I've already sent a bug report to the
cause it doesn't look like is being
archived - so I've included some excerpts from the threads....)

The Deb Freshmeat Repository (DFMR) is coming back.  Patrick Lenz
(scoop of freshmeat) has offered to restore the DFMR, and will be
installing debbugs to create a bugtracking system.  Suggestion and plans
are being made as to how the archive will run... and also an experienced
volunteer (or team) to act as Chief Maintainer is still needed.

With the recent hubbub over KDE/QPL, the talk of removal of non-free,
multiple .deb using distributions (Corel & Stormix to start with),
and the multitude of unofficial aptable and non-aptable sites with .debs
( lists aptable
ones), the time
is ripe.

It's getting chaotic with no central unofficial place to look for
stuff.  If it's
not in Debian officially, good luck in finding it packaged, even if you
know it has
been packaged by someone.  Often it's packaged, but not aptable,  only
Aliening an RPM is no substitute for a real .deb package.  There is no
equivalent to right now.

Details are still being worked out, and everyone is invited to the discussions

Seth Cohn

from the threads:
 > Scoop, why did the Freshmeat .deb archive go away to begin with?
 > I can't see to find any reasons in the mailing list archives...
 > Was it just space, lack of a maintainer, or what?

It comes down to lack of being current. When I removed the tree, no packages
had been uploaded for almost 2 years. In such a case I prefer having no
repository at all instead of having a totally outdated one.

RH contrib is really a mess, but such a mess could be useful to a certain
extent. An archive like this could make life of Debian maintainers easier,
provided that packages are well prepared. They could just browse the
archive finding useful packages to be incorporated into Debian.

  I think a way of having unofficial .debs is needed, It would be nice to
have some central point/database of these packages with date of creation,
description, and pointers back to some other hosting site such as
freshmeat, sourceforge or other. Some how the user needs to be able to get
information like on the official site such as bug reports and upstream
source, dsc files etc to make judgements on the viability of each
package. The user will make the decision if the package is viable, not the
debian release manager, so there is an increased need for information
about the packages..

I occasionally install .deb's I find on the net but always am apprehensive
about the contents.

One thing I think should NOT happen (IMHO) is getting involved in the
Non-Free controversy currently 'raging' in Debian circles.  This archive
would NOT be meant to be a non-free replacement. This archive would be more
like a central package repository, trying to replace/compliment the above
unofficial apt-source sites.  The problem is
that there are just too many apt-sources listed there, and there are tons of
other software packages that are NOT aptable right now (but if you download
the .deb
from whatever site, it installs fine.)


The current (non-existant?) process is that people package their own
.debs, they try (or not) to get them into the basic Debian tree, and
in the mean time they sit out there on hundreds of scattered
uncollected sites across the 'net that nobody knows about.

That is not a Good Thing.

What this freshmeat archive potentially offers is a venue for people
to collect and place their potential Debian packages for general
consumption; a single well published place to find the packages that
haven't been officially blessed yet.  Yes, its likely to be become a
mess with many sub-standard packages, but then it can also act as a
feeder pipe for new and worthy packages into Debian and then, as we
go along, perhaps we can work out means to keep the mess from
getting too big.


I'm thinking that 3 pieces are needed, one of which is in place:

1) In place: an existing well publicized site, freshmeat, with a complete
app list, and debian links in place.

2) a DB maintainer.  apt-source really needs the release/packages info
even if the individual .debs are well built.  This requires a maintainer,
not just Scoop/whoever putting files from /incoming into /pub/freshmeat/deb.

3) A bugtrack & mailing list.  The mailing list here fulfills only half of this.
A bugtracking system is really needed, or else how do we know how good
the package is...  Since the Debian bugtracking software is free, all we
require is someone to host it.

What would it take to keep "the mess" from getting out of hand?
So far most or all these items have been mentioned...
- registered contributors (via Freshmeat or independently?)
         - periodic check that the contributor is contactable
- signed packages (pgp2, pgp5, pgp6, gpg)
- categorization beyond what Debian does
         - lintian clean vs. unclean
         - supported vs. unsupported
         - binary+source vs. no source
- a bug tracking system
- a management team

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.