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Re: Please merge the random translator into the Hurd repository

From: Thomas Schwinge
Subject: Re: Please merge the random translator into the Hurd repository
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2014 13:49:52 +0200
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On Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:05:43 +0200, Justus Winter 
<4winter@informatik.uni-hamburg.de> wrote:
> please merge the random translator (found in [0]) into the main Hurd
> repository.
> 0: git://git.sv.gnu.org/hurd/incubator.git, branch random

I have previously (years ago) spoken in favor of keeping individual Hurd
system components "as separate as bearable".  For example, a) because we
actually can do that in the Hurd system (in contrast to a monolithic
system architecture), and b) because we'll never be able to aggregate all
of the "Hurd software" in one place anyway (because the software is
shared/used elsewhere (glibc, for example, or even our libpthread, which
used to be shared with the independent L4-Hurd development, later with
Viengoos), or for legal reasons (no copyright assignment), or for
practical reasons (intolerable code quality), for example).  I went on to
suggest we might even split up the current Hurd repository into separate
repositories for: RPC definitions, core libraries, translators, tools --
and also remove some of the "cruft" living in the current core Hurd
repository, without having seen any maintenancen/use for years.

Of course, this makes it harder to do global changes (like, incompatible
changes at the RPC level) -- but because of b) that shouldn't/can't be
done anyway.

> Rationale:
> The random translator provides /dev/{,u}random that provide
> cryptographically secure random numbers.  A lot of software depends on
> this.  Having /dev/{,u}random thus enables more software to run on the
> Hurd.  The random translator has been tested in Debian/Hurd for quite
> some time now.  I consider it essential for any Hurd distribution.

That is correct, but my reasoning back then, basically my comment a), has
been that this is not the duty of the core Hurd package, but instead is
the duty of the operating system distribution, which provides installable
packages assembled from various sources, and provides/installs a default
set of packages, which would certainly include the one with the
translator providing /dev/random.

> Pros:
> Integrating it into the main repository ...
> * ... gives it a broader exposure to reviews, cleanups, and static
>   analysis.
> * ... makes large-scale changes to the Hurd base easier.  The random
>   translator depends on the API and most likely even internal
>   implementational details of the core Hurd libraries.
> * ... makes packaging the Hurd easier for Debian/Hurd and any other
>   potential distributions.

If there is agreement, despite my comment b), that it'd be beneficial to
merge the current "external" translators into the Hurd core repository's
master branch, if this substantially makes any workflows easier, then I'm
fine with accepting this.  There is, I guess, no need to make our lives
harder, for some abstract (?) benefits, just for the elegance of
explicitly modularized system architecture?


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