Matthew Garrett mjg59 at
Mon Nov 28 14:15:37 CST 2005

On Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 05:46:53PM +0000, Mike Hearn wrote:

> It was suggested that Wine may be shipping pre-compiled executables in
> future: in fact we already do this in a way, as Wine will try and download
> the Mozilla ActiveX installer the first time it's needed, so it makes no
> difference whether it's included in the package or not. Including it
> would be convenient for the user because it means they won't be disturbed
> by a download popping up at some point (and a few programs don't expect
> loading a widget to trigger downloads), but the bits on the hard disk are
> the same at the end. So it makes no sense for you to say "we will not
> include this" because the source code will already fetch it if it's
> missing.

We make a commitment that our users be able to modify any of the 
software we ship in main, and then rebuild their modified version. This 
is an important part of free software. Providing binaries without a 
working buildsystem doesn't fit with that, and we're not going to do it.

> That's not true. This whole idea of packagers being separate from
> "upstream" is bogus - people who are interested in using and developing
> the software can support it regardless of what platform or distribution
> they use, by working together. There's no requirement that lone
> individuals from Foobar Linux be able to do anything. And I still haven't
> seen a definition of "support". What does this mean? Fix bugs? Answer tech
> support queries? Add new features? Why does a packager "have" to do this,
> instead of the community of interested and qualified users?

At the simplest level, a distribution needs to be able to carry out the 
guarantees that it has provided to anyone with a support contract. We 
can't rely on upstream to do that, because upstream is under no 
compulsion to do so.
Matthew Garrett | mjg59 at

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