[Slackbuilds-users] Package versions

Full Name nuncestbibendum at excite.com
Thu Jan 19 17:46:46 UTC 2017

As a long time user of Slackware, I am immensely grateful to the people who have volunteered (and continue to do so) their time and effort to maintain and update third-party code, so that the rest of us Slackware users can painlessly and easily build the necessary software by using the resources in Slackbuilds (and sbopkpg.) Once again, kudos and appreciation to you.

Having said that, all too often maintainers do not update the software all that promptly. It is not uncommon to have Slackbuilds packages that are several releases behind what one can get from distributions like (shudder) Fedora or (shudder!) Ubuntu. This can be a critical issue - I have been in the position of the gentleman who enquired about docker, and I eventually had to install an Ubuntu VM in my Slackware box, for the docker version in Slackware is just too old for what I needed to do. Unfortunately, pinging maintainers does not always work. In fact, having tried that myself in connection to other packages, I never got any replies, and the relevant packages remain behind the current versions.

I understand that maintainers cannot (indeed, should not) be forced to do anything in particular. Heck, they do what they do in their spare time, with no remuneration, out of the goodness of their heart, and a sense of community. For which we are all, I am sure, very thankful. I also understand that they may happy legitimate reasons not to update their packages. However, I wonder if maintainers could be a bit more proactive and responsible about their packages? If you assume the responsibility of maintaining Slackware packages, do assume the responsibility; do a good job of it. If that is too big a burden on your time, just relinquish such responsibility, as we see some do, every so often. But, please, do not stay as the official maintainer while at the same time you silently ignore the requests that you get from people. If nothing else, that taints Slackware's reputation.

One of the ripostes that I am bound to get here is, Why don't you become a maintainer yourself? Well, that is not the point. I, for one, do not have the time, knowledge, and drive to become a maintainer. Not everybody does have what it takes. I just think that Slackware is the best Linux distribution for me, and I want to be able to use the best software that I can under Slackware. I can occasionally install, by hand, newer versions of software packages than those in Slackbuilds - but that defeats the purpose of Slackbuilds. Also, sometimes I just do not have the expertise - the docker case is one example. 

I expect that some will dismiss all this retorting "If Slackware is too difficult for you then use Ubuntu (or whatever) instead." Well, they may be right; I might have to end up doing so. However, before taking such a radical step, I'd rather appeal to the maintainers' sense of pride in what they are doing, while I will risk all the abuse and derogatory comments that such a thing might elicit from some. I love Slackware, I want to carry on using it, but I would like to have the most up-to-date Slackware packages across the board.

I hope nobody will be offended by this, for it is not my intent to offend anyone. 

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