[Mailman-Developers] RELEASED: GNU Mailman (core) 3.0b5

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Thu Jan 8 03:43:52 CET 2015

Barry Warsaw writes:

 > I've heard that Debian is working on Ubuntu-like PPAs.  That would
 > seem like a fruitful way of providing the entire stack for older
 > distros.

This is already possible to some extent, as I mentioned earlier: one
can enable more recent versions of packages from the Debian
repositories, or (as I do) upgrade the distribution but pin packages
which you need to be invariant to specific versions.  It's also easy
to build Debian packages in most cases if you just want to use more
recent versions of upstream source.  And there really isn't any
difficulty in creating a PPA per se, you just add it to your sources
list.  The software can already handle it I'm pretty sure.

The problem is that PPAs just aren't acceptable in many cases for two
reasons: (1) they are by definition not subject to distribution QA,
and they may not be acceptable to enterprise QA, and (2) if you go to
a PPA for Python 3.4, you will also need a 3.4-specific compile of
each Python package you depend on, which means packages for those too
in most distributions (and specifically in Debian, I believe).  (And
I'll address (3) "effort" below.)

In the case of (2), you can use the source debs and pretty easily
modify them to use Python 3.4 instead of the specified Python (in
fact, there probably is a generic source deb for this purpose).  Or
you can backport Mailman to Python 3.2.  But either means that there
is *zero* QA for Python 3.4 vs 3.2 (or whatever) differences.  Someone
who is using Debian stable evidently cares about that risk, and cares
*a lot*.

Personally, I don't see why we should put in the effort to deal with
this.  If there are a lot of admins on wheezy systems who are systemd
refuseniks (and I sympathize with them, systemd as described in
Lennart's blogs is a great idea, but it suffers from mission creep on
a Vietnam-sized scale), then there's enough manpower to create a
"Mailman 3 on wheezy" PPA, and mailman-devel and mailman-users (not to
forget python-list and maybe even python-dev) will be there to help
with Mailman-specific issues in the packages.

If there aren't, then why should Mailman supply the manpower to
satisfy a small number cranky admins?  I suppose most admins will
trust that by the time Debian stable gets systemd and Mailman 3, both
Mailman and systemd will be good and stable themselves.  So as I wrote
to Tanstaafl before, TISATAFS but TANSTAAFL!  (NB FVO F (speech) != F
(beer).)  Somebody will pay for this lunch; in this case I think the
diners should do it.  Mailman itself would get nothing but pain and a
big "thank you" (ie, hot air).

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