Removal of the package paw from Ubuntu Lucid

Steve Langasek steve.langasek at
Mon Apr 5 01:11:52 BST 2010

Hi Pablo,

On Sat, Apr 03, 2010 at 12:31:49PM -0300, Pablo Barros wrote:

> Please reconsider the removal of the package paw from Lucid. paw is
> one of the most important tools for any physicist, specially those who
> are older (and can't get their heads to work on newer C++-based tools
> like root); and those older people aren't likely to be able to compile
> it from source. My thesis advisor's workflow wouldn't work at all if
> Lucid were released without all of cernlib, including paw; same thing
> to most of our institute, which has just switched from Fedora to
> Ubuntu (one of the arguments was exactly that it was easier to get
> cernlib to work under Ubuntu!).

> Maybe it isn't geting updates, but that's because it works. AFAIK its
> maintenance isn't expensive: the last expensive bit was adapting it
> from g77 to gfortran, and then to 64 bits. No changes like that are
> happening now. The just removed package seems to work fine; why not
> keep it in the repositories, for the benefit of thousands of users?

The binary packages were removed for the reasons described at

Although it seems unlikely that security updates would be a concern for a
package such as paw, it also appears that paw is distributed under the GPL.
If we can't successfully build the package from source, then it's not legal
for us to distribute the binaries.  It's far better for us to remove the
binaries now, while there's still time to fix the build failure if people
care, than to do so later after lucid has already released!

Since you make a case that this package is important to users, I looked at
fixing the build failure (which is also reported at  I've managed to get it building, but what I
found only reinforces the principle that unmaintained code bit-rots.  The
cernlib packages have been unmaintained in Debian for a year and a half, and
in spite of some expression of interest in adopting the paw package, this
build failure went unaddressed for 5 months.  Since this package is
important to you, I would suggest that you consider getting involved in
maintaining the Debian package; if paw remains without a maintainer, it's
inevitable that the package will have similar problems in the future and be
in danger of removal from future releases of both Debian and Ubuntu. 

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                          
slangasek at                                     vorlon at

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list