Eclipse Update

Mon 20 July 2009

tjaalton, pwnguin: and I'm filing a bug report to remove this package again, because it does include a handful or more third party libs inside the eclipse package. if you want to keep eclipse, please fix these bugs, hint, hint ;)

Matthias Klose (doko) has uploaded a new version of Eclipse to Karmic. However, things could be better. Firstly, there's still 3.5 to contend with. Moreover, as the quote above hints at, the current package violates Debian Policy, in particular, 4.13: Convenience copies of code:

Some software packages include in their distribution convenience copies of code from other software packages, generally so that users compiling from source don't have to download multiple packages. Debian packages should not make use of these convenience copies unless the included package is explicitly intended to be used in this way. If the included code is already in the Debian archive in the form of a library, the Debian packaging should ensure that binary packages reference the libraries already in Debian and the convenience copy is not used. If the included code is not already in Debian, it should be packaged separately as a prerequisite if possible.

The Debian project prefers explicit copies of third party libs to be in a systemwide package, for sanity's sake. The reasons are fairly good:

  • Firstly, it's inefficient. Duplicated libraries can't be shared with other executables, on disk or in RAM.

  • Most UNIX programs already do this, so it's an expected norm. If a Debian Developer is looking for source code to a library to track down a bug, it's easy to accidentally assume the existing package was used.

  • Without a package and corresponding metadata, there's no way to search for all instances of a given library. If you do find a bug in a library, you'd like it to be fixed everywhere at once.

  • One reason you might absolutely need to fix a bug everywhere at once is security flaws. With the stated policy, it's much easier to verify that it's fixed everywhere.

Since doko's upload, another upload took care of some build dependencies, but nothing has addressed the library issue, likely because nobody's been informed (directed comments on IRC doesn't count as notice!), and unlike doko's comment suggests, no bug has been filed. If anyone wants to tackle this, #ubuntu-motu is the place to look for guidance.

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