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Re: Collaboration

Dag Wieers wrote:

On Wed, 25 Apr 2007, Tim Jackson wrote:

Johnny Hughes wrote:

If RPMforge has a perfectly working ClamAV for EL5, and if we are
collaborating, why would EPEL build ClamAV?
a) Because EPEL is independent, and should have infrastructure which is
   independent of other entities. This is a basic principle of running any
   self-contained project. It does NOT exclude collaboration, unless your
   definition of "collaboration" is particularly narrow.

EPEL is not independent. EPEL is Fedora is Red Hat.

You missed my point. I wasn't talking about independence in a political/organisational sense. I simply meant that it is a standalone repository/project.

b) Because the standards, processes etc. of the repos are different and
   therefore, as we have already established, they are serving different

What is ironic, is that the standards are based on common practices that all the repositories created as part of the packaging community.

That may well be the case. In that case your beef is (mainly) with the individual package contributors who either ignored or didn't bother to check existing packages to see if there was a way to "play nice" before redesigning a package. This is not a failure, per se, of Fedora, but is a result largely of human nature, though the project as a whole of course has to take responsibility. Although we try to present a unified face, no project would exist without the people that contribute to it. So, we need to move the discussion away a little bit from "How Fedora communicates with other repos" and more towards "How the intelligent people that contribute to Fedora communicate with the intelligent people that package stuff in other repos". As you rightly imply, no amount of policies or processes will substitute for good old fashioned person-to-person co-operation.

There is however still the fact, as I've pointed out before, that there isn't always an empirically "correct" answer to a problem. There may be two incompatible but equally valid ways to package something. That said, I do agree that in the absence of compelling and observable improvements, given two competing solutions it would be better to stick with the existing one for compatibility. I'm 100% behind you on that. (I'm commenting in general here, rather than specifically about clamav; whether or not clamav in Fedora is a compelling improvement over clamav in RPMforge is a discussion for another time).

Actually, due to differing goals, there will probably be times where there simply is no way to produce one package that meets criteria for both Fedora and [other repo]. In that case, we may just have to accept that (and do what we can at a technical level to make things as compatible as possible, e.g. via Requires/Provides). However we should all work hard to make those cases as rare as possible, ideally zero.

And back then Fedora stepped in, and redid everything. They could of course because they made the OS, so they would have authority as well for the add-on stuff.

I think you're ascribing higher authority and motives here than actually exist. The problem here is communication, plain and simple. "Fedora" didn't make the clamav package, a person did. If the clamav packager didn't look at what other packages were already around, and discuss possible changes with other well-respected maintainers before making the Fedora package, then that's regrettable IMHO, and of course I understand why you, Dag, might feel a bit miffed. (If he did, but the disagreements couldn't be resolved, then that's a slightly different matter as I discussed above). I don't think it helps anyone (including Fedora/EPEL) to reinvent the wheel unnecessarily; we should all be trying to build the best solutions. Which is exactly why I think collaboration is very important. To reiterate though, this is a 2-way thing and if a Fedora packager suggests changes/improvements to you, I would expect you to be receptive to those in the same way that I would expect the packager to be receptive to building packages that are compatible with existing ones from you.

If EPEL is not the Master 3rd party repository, then please start to look if what EPEL introduces is compatible with what already exists. Because the clamav packages surely don't play nice with what already existed.

On this topic we both agree.

I do understand why you are suspicious of EPEL, and I can't blame you for that based on some bad experiences with specific Fedora packages. However, as you can see, I think the views of you (Dag) and me (Tim) are actually very closely aligned, and whilst I can't speak for other contributors, it isn't my impression that my opinions are wildly different to other people's. So that's why I think it would be a shame for you to dismiss EPEL/Fedora entirely when actually with a small amount of work from both sides, we can probably reach a solution that suits everyone. It would be much better to work together instead of fighting, because then we can focus on the real goal of making packages that help people get real work done as simply and easily as possible. We won't always agree 100%, but that's OK as long as we keep the bigger picture in mind.


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