[Fedora-packaging] Re: Use of Internal Libraries

Axel Thimm Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net
Fri Sep 19 07:34:01 UTC 2008

On Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 01:41:50AM +1200, Nigel Jones wrote:
> So I know we have
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Packaging/Guidelines#Duplication_of_system_libraries
> which I think is pretty good, easy to understand and fairly simple.
> The problem I think is that some upstream's still want to ship
> internal, modified libraries.

> Upstream says "it's a guideline not a rule".
> _MY_ question is, what can we (Fedora) do to make it clear that we have
> clear cut rules for why we don't want packages providing internal
> libraries?

I'd ask the question differently: If upstream saw itself forced to
duplicate/fork a lib how can you help making the forked bits back into
the original upstream.

I'm not targeting convenience bundling of libs as some projects do/did
(these should really be replaced by system libs!), but rather patched
up copies of libs that either use specific patches suitable only for
that project or the lib upstream generaly is accepting patches at a
slow or non-existant rate.

Just to quote one such example: ffmpeg is a fast moving target, and
any project depending on the lib API is cutting a checkout, patching
it a up and using it for its own purposes. Replacing these internal
ffmpegs with a system ffmpeg is a nightmare or even impossible w/o
rewriting the app interface to it. Given that ffmpeg and friends fall
under the patent forbidden class we don't see that directly in Fedora,
but this issue is still out there.

Other examples that do live in Fedora are minilzo that was never
designed to be a shared lib and the consumer apps never designed their
build system for a shared minilzo resulting in packages being
broken/stalled for months and years before entering Fedora (like
libvcnserver and x11vnc).


I'd recommend to soften this guideline to something as "the packager
should try hard to use system libs, and try to communicate the
benefits to upstream, but if there are reasons not to use system libs,
then he should document this in the specfile".
Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net
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