The issue Debian has here isn't with the deb
-multimedia.org repository per se
. The problem is that whoever is currently the owner of debian
-multimedia.org is not anyone who is known to Debian.
From Debian's announcement:
The unofficial third party repository Debian Multimedia stopped using the domain debian-multimedia.org some months ago. The domain expired and it is now registered again by someone unknown to Debian. (If we're wrong on this point, please sent us an email so we can take over the domain! )
debian-multiedia.org may still be found in many user's software source lists. So Debian is concerned since it's no longer the location of what may now be found at deb-multimedia.org.
debian-multimedia.org is now owned by somebody called Mikhail Dashkel over in Russia. Apparently they have attempted to contact him and haven't received any response. So I think it's understandable that the powers at Debian are more than a little concerned about it right now. Especially considering the questionable legality of registering a domain with Debian's name in it.
I also don't really see where Debian is much at fault. They attempted to work out the maintenance and duplication problems cropping up between the d-m-o repository and Debian's official ones.
It's kinda long
as you probably are aware of, there are recurring discussions on the
package duplication between the official Debian archive and the
debian-multimedia.org ("d-m.o" from now on) that you maintain.
AFAIK, the Debian team in charge of maintaining multimedia packages
(that I'm Cc:-ing) is not happy about the duplication and has approached
you about that , providing some evidence of the troubles that it
causes to them and to Debian users that also happen to use d-m.o. OTOH
I'm sure you are maintaining d-m.o to provide a useful service to Debian
users, when some of the packages you distribute are not available in
Personally, I think that principle is fine, but I'm worried about the
duplication part. Not only due to the troubles that it might cause to
users, but also for the apparent waste of maintenance energies. Energies
that could be put into better use if you and the pkg-multimedia team
could find a way to collaborate, and to do so contributing to the
*official* Debian packaging of the concerned software.
I have no specific opinion on the technical claims that d-m.o causes
trouble to official Debian packages. That might be true or not. Ditto
for your allegations of conflict of interest in the maintenance of
ffmpeg or libav in Debian. But I observe that *in* Debian we do have
mechanisms to solve that kind of issues, if and when they arise. As long
as you keep on doing your work outside Debian instead of raising your
concerns within Debian, we'll have to keep on assuming that what is
being done in Debian is fine and is entitled to the official status that
come with the name "Debian".
Thinking about it, I think we should choose one of the two possible way
1) You and the pkg-multimedia team reach an agreement on
which-packages-belong-where. One way to settle would be that for
every package that exist in the official Debian archive, the same
package should not exist in d-m.o, unless it has a version that does
not interfere with the official packages in "standard" Debian
installations. Another way would be to rename packages and sonames.
I understand that such agreements would give a sort of "advantage" to
the pkg-multimedia people over d-m.o, but that seems to be warranted
by the fact that they are doing the official packaging, while you're
not. If, as I hope, you could start doing your packaging work
(wherever possible) within Debian as well, things would be different
and we could consider solving potential technical conflicts in the
usual Debian way.
2) You stop using "debian" as part of the domain name of your
repository, which is confusing for users (e.g. [2,3]). That would
allow each part to keep on doing what they want in terms of
packaging, but at least would remove any of the existings doubts
about the official status of d-m.o.
I can imagine that would be a painful step for you to take, given the
well established domain name. But it seems fair to ask you to do so
if we couldn't manage to find an agreement between you and the
official Debian packaging initiative of software you're maintaining
in an unofficial repository.
We could also consider various in-between solutions, such as adding
suitable prominent disclaimers on your website explaining that your
initiative is not affiliated with the Debian Project, that it might
cause technical incompatibilities with official packages, and that the
donations you're collecting are for you personally and not for the
I hope we can reach an agreement on (some variants of) point (1). I'm
personally convinced d-m.o could offer a very useful service to Debian
users, for packages that are not part of the official archive. But d-m.o
really needs to do so in a way that doesn't get in the way of official
packaging activities, otherwise it will remain a perennial source of
conflicts, to the detriment of both parties.
What do you think?
PS we really want this discussion to be public, so please keep the
pkg-multimedia-maintainers list Cc:-ed, as requested with my M-F-T
header. I'll otherwise take the liberty to forward your replies to
the list myself.
And they got back this very terse reply from the people responsible for d-m-o:
> Dear Christian,
> We could also consider various in-between solutions, such as adding
> suitable prominent disclaimers on your website explaining that your
> initiative is not affiliated with the Debian Project, that it might
> cause technical incompatibilities with official packages, and that the
> donations you're collecting are for you personally and not for the
> Debian Project.
Did you read the donate page ? There is no ambiguity.
> I hope we can reach an agreement on (some variants of) point (1). I'm
> personally convinced d-m.o could offer a very useful service to Debian
> users, for packages that are not part of the official archive. But d-m.o
> really needs to do so in a way that doesn't get in the way of official
> packaging activities, otherwise it will remain a perennial source of
> conflicts, to the detriment of both parties.
> What do you think?
I'll move to a new domain name (without debian), for that I need
time. Maybe 3 or 6 months should be enough, I don't know exactly.
So from my perspective, the d-m-o folks have decided to go on their merry way rather than work things out on the duplication issue. After that, the discussion starts going downhill rapidly - as discussions are wont to do in the FOSS world whenever someone thinks somebody else just flipped them off. (You can find the whole discussion thread here
in case anybody's interested.)