[GRASS5] Re: [GRASSLIST:2996] Re: Debian Grass packages

Hamish hamish_nospam at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 21 07:26:53 EST 2004

Summary for the Micro-executives:

I'd suggest (speaking as a long time Debian user):

* 5.0.3 offical package; a 5.3-cvs-"$date" one would be nice for Sarge.
* weekly 5.3 and 5.7-snapshot unoffical .debs hosted by the GRASS website.


Debian archives explained:

Stable   "Woody" version 3.0. Only security & severe data-loss fixes.
                 GRASS is not and will not be in this release.

Testing  "Sarge" will become the next Stable upon release (2-3 months?).
                 Pacakges enter testing after all dependancies are met
                 and they've been in Unstable for ~2 weeks without bugs.

Unstable "Sid"   the latest uploads, never released, always changing.


now back to the show:

> > Today I indeed looked at
> > http://mpa.itc.it/markus/grass57/debian/grass57deb/
> > But instead of finding a *_i386.deb link which is about all my
> > Limited Edition Brain can handle, all I found was a mass of
> > instructions that scared me away, only proving my point that the
> > idea of a fresh Grass .deb is frayed and in tatters.
> > 
> > "apt-get install grass" always get something years behind, and some
> > dead-end branch or something due to lack of communication.

I'm not sure I agree with that, currently it is at 5.0.3-2.
That is currently the official stable version of GRASS, according to us.
see  http://packages.debian.org/grass

NVIZ is broken in that package (it's built against debian's TclTk 8.4),
but otherwise it is just fine. [I've tried this on a number of PCs, but
it would sure be nice if someone else could confirm this bug.] This is
something I'd like to fix before 5.3 is released but haven't had the
time to work on yet.

> > "dpkg -i grass" of some non-official package must be used, and low
> > and behold, there is some long instructions... not all .deb users
> > have compile skills, that is one of the reasons there are .debs and
> > not just .tar.gz's.
> >
> > Solution: make a grass_5.7.0_i386.deb etc. as the official debian
> > version.
> Agreed.

I don't agree with that. It misses out on what what Debian/stable is
for, i.e. Rock Solid and well tested Free software. 5.7 is a moving
target -- the debian package would be frozen in time for maybe two years
in whatever state 5.7 was at when the package was made, leading to
possible and probable incompatibilities with other GRASS installations.
I'll use last week's 5.7 topology upgrade as an example to support this.

My suggestion would be to first get a fully working grass-5.0.3 package
into Debian/testing [*]. (which is really up to the official Debian 
developers, Federico Di Gregorio & Francesco Paolo Lovergine, to do [**])

[*] I think all that needs to be done is to change the build-depends to
tcl8.3-dev and tk8.3-dev & re-upload?

[**] becoming a Debian developer isn't as simple as just us nominating
someone and providing a package. The best way for non-developers to help
is to file a patch in the debian bug tracking system against whatever
the problem is.

Having said that...

When we have that in "testing" (i.e. two weeks in "unstable" without any
major bugs) assuring a solid package for the next Debian release, we
should look at putting up something like "grass-5.3-cvs-20040321" as the
official Debian package. I think at this point, 5.3 is stable enough, we
are mostly looking at minor bug fixes for a release; and no new gross
incompatibilities will be introduced before said release. I'm sure the
Debian binary mirrors/ISO makers's would appreciate the disk space savings
5.3's shared libraries provide too. GRASS is too big/specialist to ask 
that all the mirrors & ISO makers host both stable and -cvs versions.
The archive is already up to 13 CD's (13,000+ packages!)....

The freeze for the next Debian release will be in the next few months, 
so I suggest we get on with it.. It would sure be nice to not have 5.0.3
locked in as the 'apt-get'able version of GRASS for the next one/two 
years. Also note this package is likely to be the version which will be 
used for most of the Knoppix based demo CDs.

> But in the first place we need a debian developer to support it.
> The maximum I can do as a non-debian developer is to provide
> instructions how to compile it on Debian :-)

Ok, I will look into finding/putting together a clean debian/stable
computer and following Markus's instructions on how to build unoffical
packages for 5.3-cvs and 5.7-cvs, & partly based on the existing Debian

I would not intend to rebuild the packages on a regular basis (yes, a
problem...) as I'm already over committed .. I could not host these
packages either - they would have to be sent to someone else. Also, I do
not intend to split out the help pages as the real debian package does -
too much work. Also note that I don't currently know how to do any of
this, and maybe it wouldn't happen until mid-June.

It is hard to pick what to build for/against. Debian/testing, /unstable,
5.3, and 5.7 are all moving targets and a package would soon be out of
date; rebuilding requires updating *everything*. I'd build "today"s 
snapshots against debian/stable, but libgdal1 is only in Debian/testing..?
Have to auto-build & incorporate that too. argh.. (a package built for 
stable would install on testing or unstable without a problem, right??)

My time is short, so no promises; if someone else was thinking about
doing it, by all means go ahead - don't wait for me.. what is really
needed is someone who runs a debian server which could run a script to
download the weekly snapshots, auto-build the binaries, and then
either host them locally or upload them to Italy (, .it->mirrors).


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