Subject: [offtopic?] Debian tools and source code
From: "Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona" <>
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 01:01:50 +0200 (CEST)

	(Note new subject, it was GNU License for Hardware) writes:
 > Jesus Gonzalez wrote:
 > >    I'm sorry to disagree, but at least *all* packages in main
 > > section of Debian are available in source form. A great effort is
 > > being made in Debian to be sure that everything in main can be
 > > distributed in source and binary forms. And it is.
 > What about contrib and non-free?  Apt has to be able to deal
 > with that issue.

	I only mentioned main becouse it is the *core* Debian
distribution. However, most packages in other sections are also
available as source code (sometime they are just installers for the
"true" thing). But things outside main are only additions, software
that is not DSFG compliant, or which is considered too unstable.

 > Additionally the division of source packages in main does not
 > match the division of binary packages.  For instance key parts
 > of the smb-mount package are in the general Samba source.
 > (Such as the C program for that hooks into the kernel.)  That is
 > because while the smb-mount package has a separate Debian
 > maintainer, in the rest of the Linux world that is an unsupported
 > package included in the Linux source.  (Possibly no longer
 > unsupported in the next Samba release, I will look forward to
 > that change..)

	This kind of things are dealt with by apt (or at least most of 

 > So if everything is available in source form, but the contents of
 > the source packages do not match the binary ones, then asking
 > for the source of each binary package is not easy to automate.

	There is work in progress in this area.

 > Additionally we still have not dealt with the verification issue.
 > How do we verify that the binary package you see was really
 > compiled from the distributed source...?

	Lots of discussion has happened in debian-devel about these
issues. Signing packages (by developers who build them) is a first
step in this direction.

 > These are not unresolvable problems.  But they are not trivial
 > either.  And Debian does not currently resolve them.

	Debian is working in them, when they are not already
resolved. But sometimes they are hard to solve, agreed.


Jesus M. Gonzalez Barahona             | Departamento de Informatica
                                       | Universidad Rey Juan Carlos                       | 
Grupo de Sistemas y Comunicaciones     | Mostoles, Spain