Debian Traffic #9 For 2 Nov 2000

Editor: Zack Brown

By Steve Robbins  and  Zack Brown

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1. Package Pools are Coming

18 Oct 2000 - 27 Oct 2000 (39 posts) Archive Link: "RFC: implementation of package pools"

Summary By Steve Robbins

People: Anthony TownsJames TroupAdam Heath

James Troup announced details of his recent work re-implementing dinstall and switching to package pools. According to James, ( folks mirroring the ftp site would see big changes, but neither developers nor users would notice any appreciable changes.

The biggest change in the layout of the ftp archive was a switch to package pools. All source and binary packages would live together in a directory named for the package, rather than being split up into separate distribution directories (slink, potato, etc) as they were now. To avoid having all 4000-odd package directories in a single directory, they would be split by first letter (first four letters for libraries), e.g.: .../b/bzip2/.... Additionally, there would be an SQL database of packages that might eventually be used by the BTS and other software.

In reply, Anthony Towns mentioned, " We've also been testing how well this works with the "testing" distribution [0,1], and apart from a couple of outstanding niggly problems, it should be able to be just dropped in. So we'll probably do this a week after katie's rolled out. " More information on the testing distribution can be found here ( and here ( .

In his original message, James optimistically requested, " Comments would be appreciated, _but_ I'm really not looking for "Wouldn't it be nice if" or "this <small detail> is broken" type comments. " Of course, lots of small detail nitpicking ensued. Adam Heath kicked off one thread wondering about the hashing scheme for the package pool directories. This topic was hashed out on the list months ago, but that didn't stop the debate from raging again. The thread got bogged down into a debate on how much automation was reasonable or achievable.

2. Perl 5.6

19 Oct 2000 - 23 Oct 2000 (8 posts) Archive Link: "Perl 5.6"

Summary By Steve Robbins

People: Darren StalderJoey HessBrendan O'DeaWichert Akkerman

Darren Stalder announced that he had uploaded the latest version of perl, but that there were still problems:

  1. It still uses alternatives instead of being the One True Perl.
  2. It doesn't have a binary-indep target since such would be vastly easier once we have One True Perl.
  3. None of the bugs listed on the bugs pages are fixed.

Darren remarked that his build machine was having significant problems. Brendan O'Dea sympathized, while reminding all that his ITA remained.

Joey Hess added a fourth item to the list of problems: " It is a new upstream version of perl (5.6), which means that every binary perl module package will have to be recompiled. That's 72 packages in all. " However, there is a simple way to avoid the recompilation. Perl 5.6 is binary compatible with the old 5.005, so all that needs to be done is to build 5.6 with /usr/lib/perl5/5.005/i386-linux in the @INC list. Joey concluded, saying, " Darren, why have you set your perl 5.6 packages up this way? I just don't understand it. "

Darren replied that it should be set up properly, to which Brendan remarked: " The -1 version is not. " Wichert Akkerman sighed, " So the request for which I filed years ago is still being ignored? " No, Darren corrected, " Actually, it's libperl5.6_5.6.0-2_i386.deb. "

3. FHS Testsuite

20 Oct 2000 - 29 Oct 2000 (55 posts) Archive Link: "Comments on FHS testsuite run"

Summary By Zack Brown

People: Wichert AkkermanAndrew JoseyMartin Michlmayr

Wichert Akkerman said:

I saw the results of the LSB testsuite as run against Debian woody mention on LWN ( today and took a look at the failures that listed for Debian. The test was run against woody, but with a few exceptions it seems that potato will get the exact same results, with the exception of mtools where potato would actually not fail the test.

Not all of the test results are fair in my opinion: some are real bugs in Debian, others are bugs in the testsuite or the result of using an incomplete install. I've looked on the failures we got and a few of the other tests and assembled this set of comments.

Please also note that the testsuite isn't finished yet, and neither is the LSB standard, so it is too early to draw any conclusions as to how compliant any distribution will be to the final product. So do not be fooled by things like the SuSE press release, who seem to be ignoring that little fact.

He went on to list each of the 17 Debian failures, and concluded that only 9 of them constituted real failures, and of those 9, all but three could be fixed by simply creating empty directories. Andrew Josey, the LSB Test leader, and author of the LSB-FHS test suite, replied, "We should not be expecting any distributions to pass the current version of the test suite. Although we believe it to be a fair and accurate test of the LSB FHS 2.1 specification, there are issues with the specification and tests that need to be resolved. The policy with test development is that we test the specification "as is", and its the specification owners that get to judge whether the spec is right or otherwise and not the test suite developers. Going forward if we were to roll out a formal certification process, and issues are agreed with the spec owners then we will modify the test accordingly or issue waivers." Elsewhere, Martin Michlmayr also gave a pointer to a page ( that indicated there might be problems with the FHS itself as well.

4. New Debian Server; Status Of Previous Broken Drive

23 Oct 2000 - 24 Oct 2000 (9 posts) Archive Link: " is now"

Summary By Zack Brown

People: Josip RodinJoey HessRoland Bauerschmidt

Josip Rodin announced:

I'm happy to say that the primary web serving machine has been changed just now to, a brand new server donated by VA Linux Systems. As you can see by the machine name, it is also symbolically dedicated to Joel Klecker, the developer who passed away recently. :'(

This change should not affect the web server activities, everything should be more or less intact. (Aside from the fact that the new machine is blazing fast :) Please report any problems to address or file a bug against `' pseudo-package in the BTS.

If any web mirror maintainers are reading: if you notice the change has had a negative effect on the mirroring, please contact us.

I expect our PR people will make an official announcement/press release for this shortly -- that's why this isn't on any -announce lists.

Roland Bauerschmidt asked if CVS would move onto the new machine or if it would stay on the old one, but Josip didn't know the answer. Roland also asked if developers could log in, since he had tried and failed. Josip replied, "Only debwww group right now, but it should be open for all developers shortly." As an aside, Roland asked about the status of the old machine that had gone down recently. In particular, he asked, had the data been recovered from the home directories? Josip replied, "They're still on the semi-dead HDD, which Joey Hess says is making lots of ugly noise when working..." and Joey Hess added:

It's been making the noise all along. More worrying is that my last attempt, 2 weeks ago, didn't actually manage to get *any* data off.

I'm going to try one more time, maybe try to do a last-ditch dd of the entire drive which Jason thinks might involve less seeks and do better, but if I fail we've lost the data unless someone wants to hire a data recovery professional (or is one..). I'll be making this final try sometime this week (I just finished ALS and moving, and have had no time lately to work on it.).







Sharon And Joy

Kernel Traffic is grateful to be developed on a computer donated by Professor Greg Benson and Professor Allan Cruse in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. This is the same department that invented FlashMob Computing. Kernel Traffic is hosted by the generous folks at All pages on this site are copyright their original authors, and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.0.