[Mailman-Users] Mailman archive messages(not rm, but install!)

Brad Knowles brad at shub-internet.org
Sat Dec 9 09:48:23 CET 2006

At 1:43 AM -0500 12/9/06, John A. Martin wrote:

>  Oops.  The first sentence of mine above was intended to end with a
>  question mark rather than an exclamation mark.  Maybe that would have
>  sounded better.

That would have been somewhat better, yes.

>     Brad> I didn't say that Debian did.  Alan McConnell said that
>     Brad> Mailman had been installed without pipermail:
>  Does that mean that the Debian Package does not carry pipermail?

In and of itself, no.  It simply means that Alan didn't have 
pipermail available to him.

>     Brad> When asked what kind of whacked-out version of Mailman they
>     Brad> were running that didn't include the built-in version of
>     Brad> pipermail, he said:
>     Brad> 	mm 2.1.5 .  But under Debian, so it has
>     Brad> 	experienced/endured the Debian security upgrade
>     Brad> 	procedures.
>  Does that mean that the Debian Package does not carry pipermail?

In and of itself, no.  But it did certainly strengthen my belief that 
we were talking about a standard Mailman package as provided by 
Debian, yes.

>  Between you and Alan you suggest something that is not true.  You are
>  an authority on this list (and elsewhere).  Beginners will conclude
>  From your statement that they should avoid using the Debian package.
>  Whether that is good advice or not it is not justified by the line of
>  evidence above.

A lot depends on the circumstances under which you read the given 
messages.  You took away one particular set of conclusions, and I 
took away a different set.

But then I most definitely felt strongly attacked in your follow-on response.

>  Excuse me if I have a tendency based upon the above to suspect a
>  readiness to assume that Debian does bizarre things when there is no
>  evidence supporting that assumption.

You didn't see any evidence.  But just because you didn't see it 
didn't necessarily mean that it wasn't there.  And just because I saw 
what appeared to be such evidence, doesn't necessarily mean that I 
was (or was not) wrong.

But the fact that I came to what we now understand to be an erroneous 
conclusion does not let you off the hook for the manner in which you 

>  I do not know what there is offensive and no offense was intended.

Your private reply was considerably more offensive than the public 
one, but I certainly felt what I believed to be a pretty strong 
current of intentionally implied offense.

Of course, we all know about the vagaries of human communications, 
and how 99% of that is lost via mechanisms such as e-mail.  And 
that's a sword that cuts both ways.

>  I generally try to be precise and succinct.

I think you and I may suffer the same disease here.  We both seem to 
appreciate precision and brevity, but I believe we both have a 
tendency to verbosity.  And through verbosity, I think we may both 
have a tendency to be less clear to others than we would like, or 
than we appear to ourselves.

We both need editors.  Strong ones.  The kind of editor that Tom 
Clancy used to have, before he became really famous -- and rich.  The 
kind of editor that would force us to fight to the death for each and 
every word, and only let us win the battles that we really should win.

I'm not convinced that either of us is a particularly good 
self-editor, at least not all the time.  And that may sometimes have 
certain negative consequences, as we have seen.

>                                               If one clicks one of the
>  "buttons" mentioned, one sees a URL something like
>  (for the i386 architecture) which I thought was uglier than mentioning
>  the button to click at the URL I gave.

I did that.  And I didn't see Pipermail.py anywhere on that page. 
I'm sure that if I went through the complete list of fifty-plus 
pages, or had seen the "all files" link, and then done a "find" 
within the page, then I would have found the module in question.  But 
that didn't happen.

Since you obviously did find the file in question, and therefore you 
obviously had the URL to the page where that could be found, and you 
recognized that the URL in question was long and unwieldy, you could 
easily have short-circuited the whole mess by putting that through a 
facility like tinyurl.com.

In fact, this whole business could have been stopped dead in it's 
tracks, by a simple response to the effect of:

	Uh, sorry -- I have to disagree.  I don't mean to offend anyone,
	but Debian does provide pipermail as a standard part of the
	package, such as shown at <http://tinyurl.com/yfrdxw>, then do
	a "find" within the page for "pipermail".

	Hope that helps.

And you could shorten that down even further.

>  If you had bothered to click on one of the "list of files" buttons you
>  would have (for the i386 archetecture) seen the pipermail.py file as
>  the 19th of 3438 files.

As I said, I did that.  And I did a find within the page.  And 
"pipermail" didn't show up anywhere on the page I went to.

If you're going to give me an URL and expect me to find something 
there, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that I should 
actually be able to find the thing there that I am expected to find. 
And if you want me to find something, I don't think it's unreasonable 
to ask that you be a bit more precise in giving me something that 
will allow me to more easily find it.

>     Brad> I don't think it's appropriate for us to be filing bug
>     Brad> reports on these sorts of things with package maintainers of
>     Brad> a given platform.  If the users of those packages wish to
>     Brad> file bug reports, I would fully support that.  If the
>     Brad> package maintainers wish to come back to us and file bug
>     Brad> reports against our code in our bug tracking system, I
>     Brad> welcome that.
>  I agree with what you say in the paragraph above and would have
>  thought that went without saying.  However when packaging issues arise
>  I think it would be good to suggest that users of various
>  distributions should consult whatever support the distribution offers.

As you said, I would have thought that went without saying.  I think 
we're pretty explicit in that respect in the FAQ entries which talk 
about various vendor issues we've encountered in the past, and it 
would seem to me to be obviously as applicable to new situations as 
they occur.

That said, I think we should be able to agree that Alan is in a more 
unusual situation, where he's the unprivileged user of a system that 
is set up and administered by someone else, so it's not clear as to 
who should be filing which bug report with whom.  That's why he came 
to us for help.

>  For the Debian Mailman package, which does not have a related Debian
>  mailing list, the Debian user should usually file a Debian Bug report.

Right, but who is the "Debian user" in this context?  Who has the 
responsibility and authority to file the appropriate bug report?

Brad Knowles, <brad at shub-internet.org>

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