Reviewing Debian and Helixcode

Subject: Reviewing Debian and Helixcode
From: Martin Schulze (joey)
Date: Wed Mar 15 2000 - 10:51:16 CET

Reviewing Debian and Helixcode

[Also available publically at]

In general it would be nice for the users to have Gnome packages at
the Helix Code site as well. However since the Helix people aren't
into our packaging and general policy like we are, these packages
normally won't integrate too well into the system. As a worst case
people will complain loudly.

Contrary to that we should be able to provide up-to-date packages if
the code is stable. As Javier pointed out some of our packages are
not uploaded with the same version as they are at Helix, but from my
first glance it didn't look too bad. In theory there are enough
Debian maintainers out there so package building should not be a
problem. Additionally there were several attempts made to build
packages (espially for Gnome) out of the cvs structure. I don't know
what has happened with them.

Additionally, if source is released in a regular manner and .tar.gz
files are generated it is no big deal turning them into .deb files
once Debianification was done. Somebody already said that KDE source
directories have Debian subdirectories so Debian packages can be built
quite easily. I remember that some Gnome packages (or Gnome related
packages) have had the same thing.

Since I don't recall Gnome people asking for help I guess they don't
have a major interest in receiving help. Anyway, I would be good if
we would offer the Helix people help with packaging and setting up an
apt-get'able area for packages.

Additionally I would like our Gnome maintainers to provide the
/debian/ subdirectory so they could be included in the main
distribution. In former times it was quite easy to get access to the
Gnome CVS repository thus the Debian maintainer could simply sync his
directory with the one in the repository. Even if this won't mean
that everybody can build Gnome packages from CVS it will make things

Partner program

   "Helix Code makes this possible through its Helix GNOME desktop
   partnership program; essentially, operating system vendors have an
   opportunity to outsource production and QA of the desktop packages
   to Helix Code."

   "If you are a Helix GNOME partner, it is our responsibility of
   Helix Code to create, test, tune and deploy the GNOME desktop
   packages, from the core libraries and components to the

This is nothing we want to do. Debian is the vendor that will
produce, maintain and provide all packages on its self own. This also
means that Debian cannot become a partner.

However, we could talk to Miguel or other Helix guys to work out
something so Debian is also supported on their download page or a note
is made that Debian ships the packages on their own. (although this
only applies to the unstable distribution).

Although this would make the entire idea somewhat superflous since it
would mean that Debian already contains the same packages which in
turn means that there is no need for debs at the Helix site. Oh
well... :-)

Interesting quote btw:

   "Helix Code has the largest GNOME-development team in the world,
   made up of the best developers available anywhere."

'nother quote (from the main page):

   "Our first task is the Helix GNOME Desktop: all of the GNOME
   software, tested, packaged and ready to install into your existing
   Linux or Unix system."

Debian already has this, and additionally Debian is not so lame by
only supporting ia32 and powerpc architectures (like it is done in the
go-gnome Helix installer script) but also m68k, alpha, sparc, arm etc.


After reading the partner program I wonder what is so interesting
about Helix? Debian has it all, mostly up-to-date packages that
integrate well into the entire system, provided by experts from the
computer scene at regular and native locations (for apt, dselect, capt


        Debian Developer

A mathematician is a machine for converting coffee into theorems.

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