[Live-demo] [Ubuntu] Fwd: Packaging and project re-organization

Angelos Tzotsos gcpp.kalxas at gmail.com
Thu Jan 2 14:17:06 PST 2014

Hi Andreas,

As per discussion on #osgeolive, we agreed to use the 
DebianGIS->UbuntuGIS->OSGeoLive ppa approach here, hoping we can get 
people to cooperate, instead of duplicating work.

It is also good to know that non-free Debian is available to upload 
packages with Java jar and war files.
Let's try to push Java packages there and follow the above workflow.

On 01/02/2014 02:18 PM, Andreas Tille wrote:
> Hi Angelos,
> On Thu, Jan 02, 2014 at 01:26:57PM +0200, Angelos Tzotsos wrote:
>>>> 1. Use all the standard tools in Debian packaging and create/update
>>>> packages on UbuntuGIS ppa.
>>> I personally would welcome if the packaging itself would happen in Debian
>>> GIS repository[1]
>> We have been using UbuntuGIS unstable as our base for some years
>> now, mostly due to OSGeoLive being Xubuntu based. I am sure that if
>> new packages get created, can be ported to DebianGIS.
> I think this is a total misunderstanding what I wrote.  Since
> Ubuntu(GIS) is based on Debian (and Debian GIS **is** Debian and nothing
> else - just a Debian Pure Blend which is by definition completely inside
> Debian) porting something *back* to Debian is a duplicated effort which
> I want to avoid.  If you do the work straight in Debian you get the
> Ubuntu package automatically without any additional work.  So the idea
> is to create the packaging straight into the pkg-grass Vcs on
> alioth.debian.org.  If for whatever reason the Debian package is not
> released right in time for your purpose you can upload the packaging
> status from there to whatever PPA.
>> Personally, I would have no objection if packaging happened at
>> DebianGIS and we ported to UbuntuGIS next.
>> The issue here is that this call for packaging does not involve only
>> the few maintainers of the OSGeoLive project but actually all the
>> projects included in the DVD (more than 60). Half of those do not
>> provide a deb for installation.
> OK.  So the task is to push packaging stuff into pkg-grass Vcs and if it
> is not taken by some Debian GIS maintainer right in time it is possible
> to push the package to a PPA.  We are using this workflow in Debian Med
> quite successfully with BioLinux (which from a organisational point of
> view might be comparable to OSGeoLive since it is also an Ubuntu
> derivative with some extensions).  If they have created some packaging
> stuff they push it to Debian Med repository and we are grabbing this
> stuff if we have the time to do this, upload to Debian and than the
> automatic cycle:  Debian unstable -> Ubuntu -> BioLinux starts working
> without additional work for any backports.  I'd imagine to implement
> this workflow also into the GIS world.
>>> I would like to repeat my offer of sponsering GIS related packages I
>>> have offered in my "Sponsering of Blends"[2] effort which surely also
>>> involves giving hints to relevant packaging documentation in case of
>>> trouble.
>> Thank you for that
>>> I admit I'm quite reluctant about tools like this.  Without having ever
>>> tried I have serious doubt that you can create lintian clean packages
>>> once packaging might become non-trivial.  Creating trivial packages is
>>> easy with plain Debian tools and thus we end up with complex packaging
>>> which will most probably fail with fpm anyway.
>> We are trying to find a very simple way to create deb packages,
>> since most developers do not have packaging experience.
> According to my experience those simple ways will create more work
> afterwards as if done right in the first place.  "Everything should be
> made as simple as possible, but not simpler. - A. Einstein"

Well, according to our experience in the OSGeoLive project, we would not 
have 60+ projects included if we did not accept very simple ways of 
installing  (in the form of shell scripts).
I agree that packaging is the *right* way of installing software on 
GNU/Linux and I am happy to see that in our tonight's meeting we had 
many packagers present, offering to help. This is very good news...

> So learning some basic packaging rules is not very hard - we have a good
> tradition of mentoring in Debian Med and IMHO the fault in Debian GIS
> team is that people spent to less time into this important task.
> Frequently repeating to say that you do not have time and not spending
> time to teach others how to help you is a bad strategy.  I'm specifically
> trying to help on this front (since I can not help with any GIS knowledge
> which is basically zero for me).
>> Until now we
>> have installation shell scripts for all the projects which is simple
>> and easy to follow. Unfortunately deb packaging is not that
>> simple...
> I'd call this a wrong statement.  Have you any evidence for this?  I
> think even writing down sentences like this is wrong since it might keep
> people away from even trying.

We agree to disagree here. 50% of projects included in OSGeoLive was not 
able to provide deb files in the past, while all have provided shell 
installers. It is just not as simple with packaging rules, lintian etc.
I also don't believe that stating that will drive people away, if they 
really want to learn they will stick to trying. People will be more 
disappointed if you claim packaging is very simple and it takes them 
days to figure out how it works...
When we started this discussion on the OSGeoLive meetings, many thought 
that packaging is going to complicate things and I was asked to provide 
a solution as simple as shell installers, thus FPM was proposed as an 
easy and practical solution.

>>> Did you checked the changes file with lintian?  May be my suspiscion is
>>> wrong and I need to change my mind about this.
>> No I did not. Here, I believe convenience is important at least for
>> the first steps of this effort.
> However, convenience is not the Debian philosophy and me beeing occupied
> by this philosophy can not agree to this.
>>> [1] https://wiki.debian.org/DebianGis
>>> [2] https://wiki.debian.org/DebianPureBlends/SoB
>> This proposal could just become obsolete if we manage to find
>> volunteers to do all the Debian packaging for 30+ projects the
>> proper way. That would be awesome.
> I'd volunteer to teach those people who fired up fpm to create a package
> to continue from this to a real package.  Just redirect them to me and
> I'll do the packaging in some kind of "Mentoring of Month"[1] like
> effort.

Thank you for your offer. This mentoring will be very helpful in this 
packaging effort.

> Kind regards
>       Andreas.
> [1] https://wiki.debian.org/DebianMed/MoM

Angelos Tzotsos
Remote Sensing Laboratory
National Technical University of Athens

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