Improving the distro packaging and installation experience

Lars Wirzenius liw at
Mon Jan 15 12:54:26 GMT 2007

On ma, 2007-01-15 at 00:05 +0000, James Westby wrote:
> On (05/12/06 16:45), Mark Shuttleworth wrote:
> > For APT-based systems, we already have
> > and I would like to understand if
> > this is sufficient for Ubuntu AND Debian, and for multiple releases of
> > those distros, or if we need to maintain current packages for the
> > current stable versions of each of Ubuntu and Debian. For example, do we
> > need a dapper, edgy, feisty, and sarge and etch, versions of the package?

I'm afraid it would be a good idea to count on things being different
enough that it's best to build different versions of bzr for different
debianish systems. For example, the Python policy for Debian sarge and
etch is significantly different, and something that works on etch won't
work on sarge, at least without installing a bunch of backported helper
packages, some of which may need backporting first.

[James, speaking of his nice builddeb plugin]
> It's not perfect at the moment, they're not signed, they're built in an
> unclean environment, and I had to turn off the testsuite run due to a
> strange error I didn't have time to investigate. I'm going to try and
> sort out these wrinkles in the next week.

Building in a clean chroot is (obviously) necessary, but luckily also
very easy, thanks to pbuilder by Junichi Uekawa. I use it in the
Unperish[1] script I just wrote to do builds (and more) of my own
programs, feel free to pinch any code you want. (I didn't want to use
builddeb, unfortunately, since I'm uncomfortable tying my build process
to bzr, so I wanted something that uses bzr only to export the sources.
I'm looking forward to benefit from your work on bzr to make that
easier. :)

> I can't guarantee a .deb a day at the moment, but if we can get a sarge
> backport of a recent bzr then I can improve it a lot. Probably including 
> chroot builds for different distros.

How big a job is it to backport bzr 0.13 (say) to sarge? I'm currently a
bit out of touch with bzr development. The requirements on seem fairly simple. I'll give it a
try some day soonish, unless someone beats me to it.

I'd say that daily builds (and test run logs), even if the debs aren't
even distributed, would be a good idea. It gives almost real time
feedback on what broke, when something breaks.

Every time I say /quit I die a little.

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