[nSLUG] Discovering the beauty of Debian within

Ben Armstrong synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
Mon Jun 13 14:56:59 ADT 2005

On Sun, 2005-06-12 at 19:50 -0300, Jack Warkentin wrote:
> This document was a real eye-opener to me. Anyone who wants a good
> introduction to maintaining a Debian-based system need look no further
> than Chapters 9 and 10.
> But there are a few chapters that I *would* describe as dry and
> technical. These are the ones that describe the rules to be followed by
> those submitting code to the project, especially chapters 4 to 8.

True, but buried in those dry sections, there are some real goodies,
like this one:

"6.2 Maintainer scripts Idempotency

It is necessary for the error recovery procedures that the scripts be
idempotent. This means that if it is run successfully, and then it is
called again, it doesn't bomb out or cause any harm, but just ensures
that everything is the way it ought to be. If the first call failed, or
aborted half way through for some reason, the second call should merely
do the things that were left undone the first time, if any, and exit
with a success status if everything is OK.

If you have the patience for it, there are plenty of other sections like
that where, after reading & understanding them, your eyes are really
opened to how Debian, in spite of its several-hundred developers,
manages to maintain cohesion and stability.  You'd think with that many
"cooks" the broth would certainly be spoiled until you realize the "head
chef" is really this policy document.

> (The reason it has taken me so long to reply to Ben's posting is, it
> *does* take a while to go through, but well worth it.)

I'm glad you thought so, and appreciate that you took the challenge.



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