Alternative name for /usr/bin/ts binary

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Alexander Inyukhin

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Jun 9, 2012, 10:04:34 AM6/9/12
to tasks...@googlegroups.com, Joey Hess
Hello!

File name /usr/bin/ts is already taken on Debian by moreutils
package ('ts: timestamp standard input'), which is lead
to conflict between packages. That situation is not only
a Debian policy violation, but it also may confuse users
and break existing scripts. Probably, the only option here
to resolve this is a rename of task-spooler executable name.

There are some alternative executable names that comes to my mind:
tsp, task-spooler, tsq, qts ('q' is for 'queue').

I think 'tsp' is a good choice, but I want to get other opinions about
alternative name and a whole way of conflict resolution.

Lluís Batlle i Rossell

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Jun 9, 2012, 10:17:04 AM6/9/12
to tasks...@googlegroups.com, Joey Hess
Hello Alexander,

I think openssl has a manpage for 'ts' too... ts.1. I suggest renaming it too.

I'm for tsp. I'd prefer this to be a debian-only affair though. Could it be?

Why couldn't the package simply coflict with moreutils? Many other
distributions package 'ts' without rename, I think. And I imagine they also
package moreutils.

Thank you for your effort,
Lluís.

Alexander Inyukhin

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Jun 9, 2012, 12:01:32 PM6/9/12
to tasks...@googlegroups.com, Joey Hess
On Sat, Jun 09, 2012 at 04:17:04PM +0200, Llu�s Batlle i Rossell wrote:
> On Sat, Jun 09, 2012 at 06:04:34PM +0400, Alexander Inyukhin wrote:
> > File name /usr/bin/ts is already taken on Debian by moreutils
> > package ('ts: timestamp standard input'), which is lead
> > to conflict between packages. That situation is not only
> > a Debian policy violation, but it also may confuse users
> > and break existing scripts. Probably, the only option here
> > to resolve this is a rename of task-spooler executable name.
> >
> > There are some alternative executable names that comes to my mind:
> > tsp, task-spooler, tsq, qts ('q' is for 'queue').
> >
> > I think 'tsp' is a good choice, but I want to get other opinions about
> > alternative name and a whole way of conflict resolution.
>
> Hello Alexander,
>
> I think openssl has a manpage for 'ts' too... ts.1. I suggest renaming it too.

It is called ts.1ssl on Debian already.

> I'm for tsp. I'd prefer this to be a debian-only affair though. Could it be?

Yes, I am talking mainly about debian.
But this change could lasts for a long time, so I had to ask about it
first.

> Why couldn't the package simply coflict with moreutils? Many other
> distributions package 'ts' without rename, I think. And I imagine they also
> package moreutils.

I think, distributions may have different rules about such things.
In Debian a program file conflict between packages is allowed only for
programs with similar functionality. This is a formal policy rule, but it
has a common sense behind it.


I dig thru other debian packages about usage of moreutils'
ts to see if it could get renamed too.

There are two dependent packages: cacti and ikiwiki-hosting-web.
The latter does not seem to use ts at all, but the former
uses ts in its debian package cron configuration to format logs.
This is kind of thing that is hard to fix, since configuration
files are often modified by users, and cacti seems to have large user
base.

So, my thoughts about the whole thing:
1. The issue is related mainly to Debian packaging.
2. This could be fixed by renaming moreutils' ts, but it is
not a quick thing to do anyway.

Raúl Salinas Monteagudo

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Jun 9, 2012, 5:48:42 PM6/9/12
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2012/6/9 Lluís Batlle i Rossell <vi...@viric.name>

Why couldn't the package simply coflict with moreutils?

With all due respect, I find that a very poor reason to make such packages incompatible. 
Because of the fact that taskspooler has been used by so few people in the world, it might be the high time to rename it to something different, while you keep your shell aliases or symlink "/usr/bin/ts" pointing to the new name.  

"ts" is an appropiate name for console (where an alias is perfectly appropiate).  In scripts, "tspool" might not be so cumbersome. 

Raúl dixit 

Lluís Batlle i Rossell

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Jun 9, 2012, 7:01:29 PM6/9/12
to tasks...@googlegroups.com
On Sat, Jun 09, 2012 at 11:48:42PM +0200, Raúl Salinas Monteagudo wrote:
> 2012/6/9 Lluís Batlle i Rossell <vi...@viric.name>
>
> > Why couldn't the package simply coflict with moreutils?
>
>
> With all due respect, I find that a very poor reason to make such packages
> incompatible.
> Because of the fact that taskspooler has been used by so few people in the
> world, it might be the high time to rename it to something different, while
> you keep your shell aliases or symlink "/usr/bin/ts" pointing to the new
> name.

I think it's up to the distributions to solve those kind of things. There is
openssl ts page, and there will be more ts, no? Distributions should have
solutions to those situations, as to the situation where people want multiple
gcc, multiple glibc, or even "substituters" that take the names of the programs
they substitute, like 'vim', 'elvis' or 'nvi' for 'vi'. So I don't think I've to
rename anything, because for me this problem is quite artificial and located
only around a very particular FOSS point: debian.

And doing some poor research using the web search, I think moreutils ts appeared
only one year before task spooler, in the shape of a 30 lines perl script in a
package with several short-name such tools. And I think one of the reasons
'moreutils' may appear more broadly used to some particular GNU/Linux users can
be because the moreutils author was already a debian contributor. :)

For example, moreutils got into the gentoo tree only two years ago. And of
course, nixpkgs got task spooler sooner than moreutils. ;) We even still don't
have moreutils now.

I know of the name clash since years ago, but as it took me already some time to
decide and publish the name 'ts', even back then I decided not to rename the task
spooler binary.

During these years I've seen some even funny 'ts'; last year or so, someone
bought "taskspooler.com" and published there a 'google-api' kind of "to-do list
on the cloud" managed by CLI using a command named 'ts'. Unfortunatelly I think
it's not there anymore; I can't find it even in the wayback machine.

So, in short, I totally welcome the effort of Alexander in pushing so hard the
debian wall. I've been following a bit the BFS, and it looks really hard. Thank
you!

Please note that I've nothing against moreutils; I think every developer should
be able to publish whatever he wants, with the names he wants, and that the name
should not be any problem for distributions.

(Raúl, if you were a debian packager, maybe you could package some 30-line
scripts too. Choose good names, it could be *real estate*! :)

Best regards,
Lluís.
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