[maemo-developers] Why should it be so hard and should I even bother with Extras for fremantle?

From: Andrew Flegg andrew at bleb.org
Date: Sun Nov 1 12:22:00 EET 2009
On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 09:30, Martin Grimme <martin.grimme at gmail.com> wrote:
> it really looks wrong IMHO if stuff like socat, rootsh, or openssh
> turn up in the extras repository ready for end-users to be installed.
> extras should only contain applications that are safe for everyone to
> play around with.

However, if it is clear to users what to expect when they install
those apps; and they don't recklessly reduce the capability of the
system, I don't think they're that bad. So, perhaps, OpenSSH Server
should have a clearer warning that the root password it forces you to
choose should be strong, as it will allow anyone to log in to your
tablet if it is online and they know the password.

> Stuff like this is meant for advanced users and developers. I think it
> would be best to have another official repository "extras-advanced"
> for these things, that comes preconfigured but deactivated on the
> device, with a big warning that apps in there are meant for advanced
> users who know what these tools are.

It seems like a lot of work. In the socat case, as long as it has a
nice icon and a description & summary which makes it clear that this
is a command-line tool for usage in X Terminal - and adequately
explains socat itself; I think it is a fine fit for user/utilities or,
even better, user/network[1].

However, the process is still being worked out. And, as I'm about to
outline, I think Thomas was right in bringing this to a mailing list
rather than having a debate either one-on-one or on the package page
(althought perhaps in a slightly more constructive way, no one wants
to prevent useful stuff getting to people; the process is still being
worked out and hopefully Thomas wouldn't think that users should have
a positive experience). The mailing list can act as arbiter.

Hope that helps,


[1] http://wiki.maemo.org/Documentation/Maemo_5_Developer_Guide/Packaging%2C_Deploying_and_Distributing#Sections

> Maybe we should open a brainstorm for separating the sharp knives from
> the toys. :)

Can anyone point to a brainstorm idea which has been successfully
implemented, or produced an outcome which reflects the benefits of an
actual brainstorm? I'm increasingly forming the opinion that
brainstorm users often conflate problems and solutions, and the whole
concept is based around the opinion that everyone's opinion and
solutions are equal. They aren't. Some people design better systems
than others.

Similarly, there's no chance of persuasion and debate. Mailing lists
are a much more powerful tool, IMHO. Perhaps brainstorm is best to eke
out the *requirements*, which are then fed to the experts on a mailing
list for debate and discussion as to how best to implement those
requirements? (Not that brainstorm really results in any ownership

However, if people can point to it as a success story, I'll be very
happy to be dissuaded of this notion :-)

Andrew Flegg -- mailto:andrew at bleb.org  |  http://www.bleb.org/
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