2010Q3 Grant Proposal: CPAN to deb autopackaging

Category: Grants

Comments (8)

I just gotta say: I tried to do this for Fink, which is a DPKG source-based distro for Mac OS X. It was *hard* and I got rapidly buried in the special cases.

If Jozef can pull this off, it would be cool and I would be very impressed, but my pessimistic side predicts failure.

This is probably my favorite proposal from this list. This has been on my tuits list for ages, it would make my programming life a lot easier, not to mention.

Some questions I do have: What platforms are you planning to support? x86 + x64 or more?

What versions of Debian and Ubuntu are you planning to support for your repository?

Yes it will be not easy and it will be not perfect (perfect are the official Debian packages), it will need a lot of patience, but I'm convinced that it is possible.

My plan is only i386 and amd64 as I have no access to any other platforms. But there is no problem for anyone who has a different platform to port it further. It will be an automated way that anyone can use at his company or for his project and build a packages with a repository for his own project. The final public CPAN-deb repository will be a proof of concept. As of the distribution, I plan to work with Debian stable. Lenny for the moment, by the end of the year probably Squeeze.

disclaimer: i'm a maintainer of 700+ perl module packages for mandriva.

creating the packages is not that big a deal with a good cpanplus backend. but creating the packages is only half the problem.

the real problem is maintaining them - and the grant only says that they will be maintained for 1 year - what happens afterwards? what are your plans? will you re-apply for another maintenance grant? will your work / infrastructure / whatever will be available for volunteers to maintain it?

if you stop your maintenance work after 1 year, then this grant is moot. it will do more harm than good, leaving your users in the cold.

not big deal? couple of people already tried and no distribution so far packaged a significant part of the CPAN. the basic tools works as long as the CPAN packages are done properly and are pure Perl. with the rest we have a problem. if there is no additional system, then we have a problem every time a new version comes out.

naturally the project will be 100% open. code, documentation and infrastructure to anyone wanting to support it. that is why I apply for a grant at Perl Foundation. if I would like to do something closed then I'll search for a business partners.

the first year will be a test run. burning money for at least two servers. one with the repository of ~2.5GB of data + bandwidth. The other one full time busy with building and indexing packages. what will be after one year? I believe that the Debian community is strong enough and would be interested in the project enough to find volunteers with some spare time, cpu and bandwidth to support. if not, it will deserve to die and we can move on to something else with the experience that was gained in that year.

to not be so Debian-centric, there is something for everyone. look at http://github.com/jozef/CPAN-Patches-Debian-Set where is the set of Debian package information extracted. this is patches and dependencies. anyone can easily look and see what patches/dependencies Debian has and fix some CPAN distribution with them. this is one part of the automated system. it is build-up on top of the hard work of Debian-Perl group, not trying to restart from scratch.

My disclaimer: I'm a Fedora maintainer and the author of cpanspec, the tool (I think) most Fedora maintainers are using to build rpms from CPAN packages.

I've thought any number of times about building a as-much-of-CPAN-as-possible repo using cpanspec, but only as a way of stress-testing cpanspec. I wouldn't want anyone to *use* those packages, since they wouldn't be tested, maintained, etc.

I guess I just don't see the point...

Would you please also make sure http://debian.pkgs.cpan.org/debian/ which is OLD! and OUT OF DATE! and obviously a previous attempt of the same, is removed? Or can anyone do that? I tried to mail the maintainer but did not receive any reaction.

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