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Re: Stop turning CPAN modules into Cygwin packages

On Wed, 12 Dec 2007, Jerry D. Hedden wrote:

> Eric Blake wrote:
> > A new package, perl-Error-0.17010-1, is now available for use.
> >
> > NEWS:
> > =====
> > This is a new package, providing the Error module for perl.
> What is the point of making this a Cygwin package?  There
> are no Cygwin specific changes, and it it can be installed
> directly from CPAN using:
>     cpan -i Error

As I understand it, this is a prerequisite for "git", which is a Cygwin

In fact, that's the only reason I see for making CPAN modules into Cygwin
packages (the Cygwin-specific patches, as you've said yourself, should
eventually be sent upstream).

> This seems to be becoming a trend.  So far there are 8 CPAN
> modules that have been made into Cygwin packages.  Only 3
> have Cygwin specific changes that would justify them being
> made into package:
>     perl-Locale-gettext
>     perl-Tk
>     perl-libwin32
> The other 5 have no Cygwin specific changes:
>     perl-Error
>     perl-ExtUtils-Depends
>     perl-ExtUtils-PkgConfig
>     perl-Module-Build
>     perl-Win32-GUI

FWIW, some of these modules might be worth packaging as part of the Cygwin
Perl package (in vendor_perl), rather than as separate packages.

> This seems like a bad practice.

Ok, let's take these points one-by-one.

> It adds a maintenance burden on the Cygwin system (because the packages
> will need to be updated when the modules are updated),

Yes, but that's the choice of the volunteer maintainer.  Eric packaged
these because he maintains git, and it was the easiest way for him to make
sure the target system contained the required modules.  So, in effect, it
*eased* his maintenance burden.

> they needlessly take up storage on the Cygwin servers,

Storage is cheap, and nobody has complained yet.

> and turning them into Cygwin packages adds no value over obtaining the
> modules directly from CPAN.

Sure it does.  For one, they could be added as dependencies of other
packages (as you yourself agreed), and also they can be included on
installation CDs, etc, which could be installed without internet
connection (which is one reason to not request CPAN install in a
postinstall script).

> Just because you can turn a CPAN module into a Cygwin
> package doesn't mean that you should unless there are Cygwin
> specific changes that need to be made.  Even then, a better
> approach is to send the appropriate patches to the module's
> maintainer so that they can be integrated into the code and
> uploaded to CPAN.

BTW, this problem must have been encountered (and, hopefully, solved) by
other distros.  How does the Debian git package handle this?  I seem to
recall that at least Red Hat Linux at some point had packages for some
CPAN modules...
      |\      _,,,---,,_ |
ZZZzz /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_		Igor Peshansky, Ph.D. (name changed!)
     |,4-  ) )-,_. ,\ (  `'-'		old name: Igor Pechtchanski
    '---''(_/--'  `-'\_) fL	a.k.a JaguaR-R-R-r-r-r-.-.-.  Meow!

"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.  That is the whole
Torah; the rest is commentary.  Go and study it." -- Rabbi Hillel

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