[Mageia-dev] Mirror layout

andre999 andr55 at laposte.net
Mon Dec 13 07:27:46 CET 2010

Michael scherer a écrit :
> On Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 12:36:05AM -0500, andre999 wrote:
>> Michael scherer a écrit :
>>> On Sat, Dec 11, 2010 at 08:16:33AM -0500, andre999 wrote:
>>>>> Not to mention that a ratio of 2 mirrors in the USA out of a total
>>>>> of 25 seems rather odd, for something that admins do not care.
>>>> 2 of 25 PLF mirrors in the U.S.
>>> Technically, 1, since the other is down ( and should be removed from
>>> the list ).
>>> So a ratio of 4%.
>> Unless you are going to analyse what is down for the other distros,
>> you should say 2 ± 1, that is 4 to 12%
> Ok, when I say down, I should say "the domain no longer exist". It is just
> not registered. Not "down and it will be up" later, but "down someone didn't
> bother to pay the domain". Obviously, I should not assume that people
> check facts before telling me my numbers are wrong.

Right, we should have both said "discontinued".  Did you understand my 
point about verifying others distro's mirrors ?

My point about comparing the numbers still stands.  Unless you've seen 
anyone with 2,5 mirrors, for example.  And my comparisons of numbers 
don't take into account other factors, which would obviously have at 
least some effect.

What I'm saying, essentially, is that your numbers in no way support 
your hypothesis that carrying patented software significantly reduces 
the availability of mirrors.  In some cases, your numbers even suggest 
the contrary.  (If you don't consider other factors.)

> And since other distributions have various systems to detect this ( mandriva have one,
> fedora have one, opensuse too ), there is no need to touch to the number.
> PLF do not have any checking tasks, so the mirror was not seen as wrong.
> ...
> And I would have removed the incorrect one, if I didn't consider this as
> a abuse of my root privilege on zarb.org.

BTW, you could have added a comment to the page.  I'm sure it would have 
been appreciated.

>> Or 9%.  Depending on how you want to fudge the figures.
> There is no estimate or fudging involved, we have exact number
> of mirrors, I gave the url for each distributions.

It's your methods of comparison that I'm questioning, not the raw 
figures.  Have you ever seen statistics that say something like "on the 
average, each family has 2,2 children" ?
And have you ever seen a real 0,2 child ?
Or realize that some families will have 1 or 4 or more children, and not 
just 2 or 3 ?
Hopefully you understand this point.

>> But maybe it is because they (in policy at least) exclude non-free
>> software ?
> So does debian.

Current Debian documentation says that they have repositories called 
"main", "contrib", and "non-free".  (Verified on a current Debian mirror.)
Just what do they put in "non-free" ?
Their documentation says software without a recognized open source 
licence or subject to patent claims.

>> And just how rigorously do they apply a no patent-constrained
>> software policy ?
> A quick research could have answered to this question :
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Software_Patents
> They used to remove mp3 support from source code :
> http://www.csparks.com/redhatUnhoarked/index.xhtml
> But that was 5 years ago. Nowadays, I do not think they still do it
> as icecast for example is not modified ( despites supporting mp3 format
> but maybe because there is no trace of codecs, it is ok ).

So apparently not that rigorously, after all.

>> Haven't I heard somewhere that Fedora (and RedHat) are based in the
>> U.S. ?  So wouldn't it be natural to expect that it would have a
>> higher proportion of sites there ?
> Debian too is based in the US ( managed since 1996 by SPI, based in NYC ).

Interesting.  A distro which accepts patent-constrained software (in 
their "non-free" repositories) is now based in the USA.
And you said that 13% of their mirrors were in the USA ?

> ...
>>> And I didn't count other country such as Japan, where patents on software
>>> are permitted ( http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Japan ), and where the count of PLF
>>> mirrors vs Fedora mirrors is 0 to 8.
>> 0 ± 1 gives 0 to 12%.  Same ballpark.
>> Also, recruiting Fedora mirrors could be driven by the commercial
>> interests of RedHat.
> "could" is a supposition, and I think you should give facts, not suppositions.

Just as your side of the argument is a supposition.  Which is exactly my 
point.  Your "facts" don't give convincing support of your supposition.
As far as this supposition goes, if Fedora and/or RedHat (a well-known 
entity in free software) were to approach potential mirrors in Japan, 
but PLF (almost unknown) did not, just who do you think is more likely 
to attract mirror hosts ?

BTW, you might also have mentioned that there are only 2 Mandriva 
mirrors in Japan.  (The first 2 you mention below.)

> For the mirror, there is 2 private R&D labs ( KDDI, RIKEN ), 2 university
> ( Yamagata, JAIST ), and the rest are network related ( iij.ad.jp, wide.ad.jp,
> dti.ad.jp, ftp.ne.jp see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.jp for the meaning of
> the various second level domain ).
> So I doubt that commercial interest of the main sponsor have something to do,
> since the profile is quite similar to the usual one of most mirrors ( ie,
> people with lots of bandwidth, servers, and interest into helping free software ).

See my explanation above.

>>> More ever, the fact that this is hosted by some private and rather anonymous
>>> company is also a important point. Ie, no .edu or big telco ever contacted
>>> PLF to host a mirror, while in France and another country, PLF have both.
>> Considering that PLF is based on Mandriva, and Mandriva is based in
>> France, wouldn't it be natural to expect PLF to be better
>> represented there ?
> I think you missed the point. Let me explain :
> There is no USA university, nor USA telecom company that contacted PLF.

And how many USA universities or telecom companies did the PLF contact ?

> On the other hand, in other part of the world, PLF is mainly hosted by telecom
> company ( like Zoomnet and Bentel, for example ) and by universities ( Porto, Taiwan,
> Bahcesehir among others ).

In Canada, I don't know of any mirror sites hosted by telecom companies. 
  And mirror sites at universities are maintained by student 
associations. (Generally the computer science club.)
A Mandriva mirror at a university in my region of Canada discontinued, 
apparently because the students involved in the (engineering) student 
club sponsoring it either lost interest, or more likely, graduated. 
Before being discontinued, we had many problems accessing it, starting 
about the end of the academic year.  (There was a lot of discussion 
locally on the net about the problems, so I wasn't the only one affected.)

Mandriva continued to list it as a mirror for quite a long time afterwards.
(For updates I have always been automatically directed to a slighty 
closer USA mirror site.)

I would imagine that mirror sites in the USA are more or less as in 
Canada - none hosted by telecom companies, university-hosted at the 
whims of interested students.

>>>> Also, there are only about 400 packages for i586 in PLF mirrors.
>>>> Since most are duplicated, I wonder how many distinct packages there are ?
>>>> Somehow doubt that an unlicenced copy of quotes from the Simpsons
>>>> (one of the 2 plf packages that I didn't find also in Mandriva main)
>>>> is going to be a big attraction.
>>> You should look a little bit more closely. For example, libdvdcss2 is plf only.
>>> So does various emulator, lame ( and related like darkice ), gstreamer-bad,
>>> etc. There is amule, and similar software. More than 2.
>> Of the twenty or so PLF packages that I found looking through
>> available packages with Mandriva and PLF repositories enabled, only
>> 2 did not also have the same version in Mandriva.  (All Mandriva
>> main, in this sample.)  That is about 10% not in Mandriva.
>> So for arguments sake let's say 20% are not in Mandriva.  That makes
>> only about 80 packages only in PLF.
>> Impressive, isn't it ?
> You said on https://mageia.org/pipermail/mageia-dev/20101201/001576.html
> that you have decades of programming experience. So I assume that writing
> a script to get more precise numbers would not be too hard instead of
> saying "I counted somewhere 20 packages in a limited part of the
> distribution" :/

I did a quick check for codec and mpeg packages, presumably many being 
patent-affected.  It took me all of 2 minutes.  Just to get a sample.  A 
complete count serves no purpose.

>> BTW, gstreamer*plugins-bad is in Mandriva contrib.
> But not all subpackages. Take a look at the spec file ( using
> mdvsys should ease the work ) and see that 5 subpackages
> are conditionnaly built.


> I think you may have missed the point about PLF rpms being at Mandriva.
> ( or the contrary, depend on how you look ).
> They share the same source code, but they do not link to the same
> software, or use the same configure options.
> So Mandriva considered that distributing mplayer without enabling mp3
> write support ( with lame ) was safe enough. PLF do the distribution
> of lame, and rebuild mplayer with it ( so mencoder can write mp3 ).
> Fedora do not distribute mplayer at all.

Makes sense.  Writing mp3 has more at risk of being contested.
And creating content with proprietory protocols really isn't the 
vocation of a distro promoting free software.

> And that's basically the same scheme for various dual life packages
> ( with variations about the feature that is enabled, there used to be a issue
> on font hinting, for freetype and bytecode interpreter )

Not surprised.  So the PLF is useful, at least for some.

BTW, I'm not trying to doubt the value of your experience and 
contributions, or even to say that we couldn't work well together in my 
intended future contributions.  Just that I disagree with your 
assessment of the impact of patent-affected software in attracting 
sufficient mirrors.
That doesn't mean that it might not be, sometime in the future, useful 
to have a separate set of repositories for software affected by various 
legal or other constraints.  Although, in that event, I would very much 
prefer that it happens in a separate group, for which I think that the 
PLF would be ideal.
Particularly since they could do the job for both Mageia and Mandriva, 
as well as Unity, and any other distro that cares to join (the open 
invitation by PLF) in the future.
(Athough I do think that they could improve their image by replacing the 
guns in their logo with something else :/)
And mirror sites open to carrying such software could use a single set 
of repos for all the distros concerned.

Another 2 cents :)

- André

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