Help us get rid of dash build failures in Debian!

January 16th, 2008 by lucas

Following my rebuild of all packages using /bin/dash as /bin/sh, we now have a nice list of bugs.

Those bugs are cool:

  • The relaxed NMU rules apply to them, since they are part of the dash release goal. Which means that they can all be fixed using 0-day NMUs.
  • Most of them are really easy to fix. (for many of them, a patch is already provided by Ubuntu)

So, if you want to get involved in Debian development, try to submit NMU patches for those bugs. If you want me to sponsor the upload, please Cc me when you submit the patch.

And even if you don’t care about Debian, but only about Ubuntu (which is fondamentally wrong, as everybody knows that Ubuntu is based on Debian), fixing these bugs also helps Ubuntu a lot: all those bugs hurt Ubuntu, since Ubuntu uses dash as /bin/sh by default, and, even if the packages in Ubuntu have been patched, it’s still causing additional work every time a new package is uploaded to Debian, and has to imported in Ubuntu.

If you have questions with the process, please ask them using the comments below.

Notes:
I use the following process on those bugs, and it’s probably a good idea that you do the same if you intent to submit patches:

  • build the package with a chroot using bash
  • build the package with a chroot using dash (you can just use a different pbuilder tarball for that). Check that the problem can be reproduced.
  • fix the package
  • build the new package with a chroot using bash
  • build the new package with a chroot using dash
  • compare the built packages using debdiff for old_package_using_bash, new_package_using_bash, and new_package_using_dash. If the content doesn’t match, we have a problem.

If you submit NMU patches, please also have a look at the other bugs in the package, or at the lintian output. I don’t mind sponsoring small fixes for non-cosmetic/non-wishlist stuff at the same time.

6 Responses to “Help us get rid of dash build failures in Debian!”

  1. Ed Schouten wrote on 01/16/08 at 2:30 pm :

    You could also take a look at NetBSD and FreeBSD packages. Those operating systems `use’ dash as well. Dash is just NetBSD’s sh with some fixes to conform to POSIX. :-)

  2. Fabian wrote on 01/16/08 at 3:10 pm :

    Isn’t it sad that you have to advertise helping Debian by mentioning the advantage that Ubuntu takes of it?

  3. lucas wrote on 01/16/08 at 3:23 pm :

    Fabian: I find it even more sad to see that many of those bugs have been fixed in Ubuntu, but never properly pushed to Debian. Or that so many packages build broken binary packages in Ubuntu because of dash, without anybody noticing.

  4. Fabian wrote on 01/16/08 at 3:48 pm :

    Lucas, may I assume we both feel the same about (1) Ubuntu’s contribution to Debian and (2) about Ubuntu’s QA?

  5. Alex wrote on 01/19/08 at 6:10 am :

    What’s with the nn maintainer being so hostile?: http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=459108

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