Projects in xfce repos, ehm...

Brian J. Tarricone bjt23 at
Fri Nov 21 01:42:39 CET 2008

Benedikt Meurer wrote:

> This kind of stupid discussion repeats approx. once per year, and its 
> always the same arguments pro and con. Given that Xfce still attempts to 
> deliver a desktop environment and not only a window manager with nice 
> buttons to start applications, it's really nonsense to talk about 
> defining "core" w/o applications like the file manager, editor, 
> terminal, image viewer, etc. A default install of Xfce should give you 
> anything you need to get started and this "default install" should be 
> represented in a common repository (and bug tracker, etc.) so that 
> people who want to get involved (few enough already) don't get 
> frustrated having to look up the source for these essential components 
> first (no matter if they want to contribute code, documentation, 
> translations, or whatever). If someone wants to replace application A 
> with application B, he/she can do this later, but this is a special 
> case; the majority of people (including myself, not just newbs as 
> someone will surely attempt to argue) just want a working desktop 
> environment, with file manager, editor and terminal at least!

Yes, but: there are about 6 of us that work on Xfce decently often. 
Getting all apps together for a release is harder when "all apps" is a 
larger number when you don't simultaneously increase the number of 
people involved (which has diminishing returns anyway).

I'm not really concerned with the final end-user experience when I'm 
talking about this distinction.  Packagers will set up their package 
managers to install whatever subset of "xfce" packages they want when 
the user says "install xfce."  I can't believe that most people would 
compile from source from our tarballs, and those are the kinds of people 
who are perfectly capable of grabbing some packages from$VERSION/, and others from the release directories 
on (or wherever else).  In fact, these kinds of people 
are, by definition, not included in your group of people you're saying 
we should care about.

When I talk about this, all I really care about is maintenance burden 
for us.  Changing these things don't really result in any more of a 
burden on the user.  The only other people that should be affected are 
packagers, and we can do things to alleviate that, like making it easier 
to find all the various xfce-related pieces of software with something 
better than the current (like Jannis was talking about 
in a separate mail).

> I'd even suggest to drop the separate goodies repository completely and 
> move everything into one repo similar to GNOME. That way every Xfce 
> maintainer is first-class.

I was thinking about this earlier while composing one of my previous 
mails.  I'm not opposed to it on principle, but I'm not sure that I'm 
really in favor of it either.

There are a few infrastructure issues that would need to be fixed first, 
like permissions on the repos -- the goodies repo is much more liberal 
permissions-wise than the xfce repo; someone would have to write up 
rules for each individual module in the goodies repo.  (But this is 
probably something that should be done anyway.)

> Of course, the "core" installer should not 
> include every panel plugin (esp. since not every plugin compiles on 
> every platform), but maybe a nice set of plugins to get started.

Sure, that makes sense.

> But please stop this "core must not include essential apps" discussion 
> and start thinking like real people(tm) in a real world(tm).

I'm not thinking about real people in the real world because I don't see 
how this split has to affect them.  Our packaging style need not have 
anything to do with the packaging that real people/real world users see 
from their distro or OS.

Along the lines of Christian's email, I'd like to see three graphical 
installers (really the only possible place where a decent number of 
end-users are affected by our packaging decisions): "core xfce," "xfce 
apps," and "xfce goodies" (or maybe "xfce plugins" instead of "goodies").

(I'd also like to see the installer be able to give a list of all the 
stuff it's gonna build, and let the user uncheck some of them if they 
want to, but that's for another discussion.)


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