Notice of intent: patching glibc

Adam Williamson awilliam at
Tue Sep 6 23:09:54 UTC 2011

On Sat, 2011-09-03 at 20:56 +0200, Roberto Ragusa wrote:
> On 09/03/2011 07:31 PM, Adam Williamson wrote:
> > To look at things at a higher level: it's clearly the goal of the
> > guidelines that any interested party (with sufficient basic knowledge)
> > who comes along and checks a Fedora package out of git should be able to
> > _understand it_, and this includes finding out where all the stuff that
> > goes to make up the package actually comes from. glibc spec clearly
> > doesn't achieve this goal; the casual browser is left looking at a
> > gigantic patch and a mystery tarball and wondering where they came from
> > and what they do, as I was. This makes glibc not at all raptor-proof,
> > and not very amenable to outside review or improvements, which is rather
> > against the spirit of an open source, community project.
> And the mind goes to a recent case of "obfuscation by merging patches".
> In that case RedHat acknowledged that a single giant patch is more
> difficult to understand and it confirmed that this was considered a
> feature (for commercial reasons); someone even started to debate
> if that could be considered a GPL violation, on the "source in preferred
> form" criteria.

Well, yes, that parallel came up in my mind too, but really, the two
aren't particularly similar. I don't think there's any intent to
obfuscate in the case of the glibc spec, it's simply done the way that
seemed convenient to its maintainers at the time. Note the Fedora kernel
package is a normal source / split out patches set. I'm not sure that
whole kerfuffle is particularly relevant to Fedora.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | adamwfedora

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