Alexandria broken on Ubuntu 11.10
Alexandria has been removed from the Ubuntu package repositories for the new 11.10 (oneiric) release. This is because the
alexandria package depends on old
ruby-gnome2 packages which have been dropped from Ubuntu.
The reasons behind this are a little complex, and took me a while to work out, so I shall go through them.
In the course of developing GTK+3, the GTK+ developers decided to tidy up libraries of unrelated modules. So, for example,
libgnomewas refactored and classes like
Gnome::Programwere pulled out into
Gtk::Applicationin the main
libgtklibrary. Similarly, the functionality of
libglade2is now provided by
Gtk::Builder. And use of
libgconf2is discouraged (without any simple drop-in replacement, as far as I can tell so far).
The Ruby/GNOME2 team, with limited resources, cannot keep supporting soon-to-be discontinued libraries. So, coming up to their recent 1.0.0 release, they marked
libglade2-ruby(and many others) as deprecated. This means “considered obsolete but still available for use, though planned to be phased out”.
Debian dropped all the deprecated packages from Debian Testing in July 2011, since they are “unmaintained upstream”. This also meant that any packages which depended upon them had to be dropped, including Alexandria.
Ubuntu, which takes most of its software packages from Debian, followed suit in not including the deprecated Ruby/GNOME2 packages, and therefore also had to drop Alexandria in the 11.10 release.
Since the three deprecated packages Alexandria needs have been removed from the Ubuntu repositories, any attempt to simply install the latest Alexandria deb package will fail due to broken dependencies.
Therefore, to get Alexandria up and running on Ubuntu again I must do some combination of these:
Re-write parts of Alexandria so it no longer requires those libraries.
Re-package some dependencies and make them available on the Alexandria Team PPA.
This is the current plan. Where possible, I will use re-writing, which should lead to fewer maintenance worries in the future. Keep an eye on the mailing-list for progress reports.
How did I miss this?
- I haven't been working on Alexandria for many months.
- I don't use the latest Ubuntu. I use Trisquel GNU/Linux, which is based upon an older version of Ubuntu.
- I'm not subscribed to any of the relevant Debian mailing-lists to which notifications were sent.
- The Debian maintainers of Alexandria did not contact the Alexandria mailing-list or leave a bug report on the tracker on RubyForge. So I had no knowledge of the problem until #29415, #29418, and #29419 were posted on the tracker a few days ago.