How to not collaborate with Debian (and upstream)

Mathias Gug mathiaz at
Thu Aug 28 21:43:25 BST 2008


On Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 10:14:06AM +0200, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> Besides the minor packaging strangeness in Neil's version (change of
> packaging system, use of a git snapshot without saying it, copyright
> problems, etc),

Agreed. There are some packaging mistakes.

> the root problem is the hack around update-alternatives
> to remove the possibility for rubygems to overwrite binaries when
> several versions of the same gem are installed (possibly for different
> versions of ruby).
> * I don't think that this problem is grave enough to warrant maintaining
>   a long term divergence with upstream in Debian/Ubuntu.
> * When discussed with upstream, they suggested a different solution
>   (warn the user when rubygems is going to overwrite a binary).

The upload tries to address one specific issue raised in bug 145267 [1]:

Providing binaries shipped by gems on the default path.

In hardy, the end user using a gem (let's say the rails gem) would
have to do the following things:

1. sudo apt-get install rubygems
2. sudo gem install rails
3. Modify the default PATH in the environment to include
/var/lib/gems/1.X/bin/ so that the rails command can be invoked from the
command line.

The upload aims at removing step number 3 from the process by symlinking
the gem binary from /var/lib/gems/1.X/bin/ into /usr/local/bin/. This is
accomplished by hooking calls to update-alternatives in the post-install
phase of a gem. These hooks were added by the upstream developers in
order to be able to do exactly that kind of things. Thus the reason to
use an upstream snapshot.

And that's all what the upload is trying to solve. Other concerns raised
in this thread and other threads are valid - there were valid before the
upload and are still valid after the upload. It's one step toward
improving the end-user experience of rubygems in the next version of


Mathias Gug
Ubuntu Developer
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