Bug#994275: Reverting breaking changes in debianutils

Clint Adams clint at debian.org
Sun Oct 3 23:09:31 BST 2021

On Sat, Sep 25, 2021 at 11:31:41AM +0100, Simon McVittie wrote:
> This seems a good opportunity to ask what I think is a key question here:
> what do you consider debianutils' mission to be?

The package description uses the phrases "specific to Debian" and
"installation scripts of Debian packages".  The fact that
debianutils is used on non-deb operating systems suggests a failure
at the former.  The fact that 95% of my inbox consists of hatemail
about the interactive usage of `which` suggests a failure at the

debianutils should consist solely of utilities that are actually
deserving of Essential status, that are maintained by debianutils
upstream, and do not needlessly duplicate functionality provided by
other sources.

Divestiture of mktemp, readlink, sensible-editor, sensible-pager,
sensible-browser, tempfile, and possibly mkboot were adjustments
toward a better debianutils.

mktemp and readlink have been replaced by superior versions.
sensible-* live in a non-Essential package in which presumably
someone cares about them.  tempfile and mkboot are no longer
around to confuse people.  Did people see these things as
progress when they happened?  I would imagine that the people
who were verbally abusing me and flinging stop energy around
at the time did not.  Does anyone really miss the old debianutils
mktemp now?

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