[development] Drupal Modules and Linux Distros

Jonathan Lambert j at firebright.com
Wed Oct 25 19:50:28 UTC 2006

I have a number of comments on this thread, which I have bastardized  
into one email here...

On Oct 25, 2006, at 9:24 AM, Dries Buytaert wrote:

> On 25 Oct 2006, at 13:47, Konstantin Käfer wrote:
>> To be honest, I can't really see the point in providing Drupal  
>> with a Linux distribution. Most users won't need it and those who  
>> do are usually skilled enough to do that themselves (at least they  
>> are using Gentoo and not Windows). Packaging contrib modules  
>> doesn't make that much sense to me as well because it's just  
>> unzipping a tarball into the modules directory (or wherever you  
>> install the module to). The actual installation has to happen  
>> inside of Drupal anyway.

> We have a lot of people that install Drupal using Debian's apt- 
> get.  Having to download and un-tar 10 tarballs is a pain.  Also,  
> Gentoo automatically recompiles Apache, PHP and/or MySQL if certain  
> features are missing, and might as well configure Apache.  In  
> short, there are many good reasons to support packagers like  
> Gentoo, and I'd like to see us actively support them (eg. don't re- 
> create tarballs, upgrades from the command line, etc.).


Major companies are starting to build releases on Drupal software  
(IBM, Spikesource), and companies like mine are working to help with  
Drupal as a hosted application.  The main problem I have with Drupal  
right now is providing my customers with effective change  
management.  Tracking changes in Drupal is *hard* in it's current  
form, as I have to track security problems not only in the main  
trunk, but also in each module that's installed.  Now imagine having  
to do that for thousands of installations - it's nearly impossible,  
even with the benefit of Nessus and related scanners.  Being able to  
platform manage packages is a near necessity in these types of  
environments, and companies using these environments are an important  
component of the Drupal community ecosystem.

Look, the original request is, "I need you to change package version  
numbers when you make changes to the underlying tar files."  It's  
positively INSANE to me that there is any debate on this point, as  
this is standard practice in package management and software  
engineering.  If Debian has a problem with retrieving a new tar file  
for every single Drupal version that comes out (as any distro that  
isn't updated frequently will have), it's ALSO important that we add  
a drupal-current.tar or module-current.tar file to the repo so we can  
build that into package scripts for users that are interested in  
running the latest regardless of version.

Drupal maintainers have a responsibility to members of this community  
to fix this practice immediately.  Not only would it benefit Drupal  
in a myriad of ways (package management being a "Big One", but there  
are many more), it will help adopters of the platform deal with the  
complexity, and pave the way down the line for systems that remove  
some of that complexity and help end-users, especially as the  
practice essentially violates best practice in Software Development  
and eliminates the possibility of any kind of "real" change management.

James Walker and I have talked about the need to build packages, and  
we would love to see Gentoo, Debian, CentOS, and other organizations  
get this capability - I don't think the impact to Drupal adoption  
should be discounted.

I hope this appeals to some of you - it's very important.  And I  
cannot back up Dries enough in his position.

> It is sad to see this discussion side-tracked.  The purpose of this  
> discussion is NOT to debate why packagers exist (that is not what  
> Seemant asked for), but to figure out how we can better cooperate.   
> The world doesn't care about your opinion about packagers; whatever  
> it is you think about them, they are not going to go away.  So if  
> you're not going to help make Drupal better for packagers, don't  
> add noise to the discussion either.  It would be a waste of time  
> and bits.  Thanks.
 > This isn't a sidetrack; it's an important point. If the current  
project descriptions will be overwritten by the .info files, then  
there's no
 > point spending time now cleaning up the text itself. There's still  
tagging needing to be done, but I don't want to be changing the ?
 > project description if it's all getting wiped out soon.

It's a good point, but it really is sidetracked from the original  
request.  Also, you're directly ignoring Dries' polite request not to  
add noise to the discussion (I'm not singling you out personally).   
This point should be a separate thread.

> Seemant: as mentioned, the repackage issue will be fixed in the  
> near feature.  Anything else that we could do to make things easier  
> on your side?  If so, I'd love to learn more about it, so we can  
> work on it.

Seriously, and get in touch with me.  We're heavy Gentoo addicts, and  
would love to assist you in any way we can.  We'd be happy to  
contribute to any initiative to make Drupal ebuilds under Gentoo more  

Jonathan Lambert
FireBright, Inc.

> (Thanks for Gentoo.  I'm a long time Gentoo user.)
> --
> Dries Buytaert  ::  http://www.buytaert.net/

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