possible conflict over the /usr/bin/ia namespace
- Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2018 00:35:45 -0400
- From: Antoine Beaupré <anarcat@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: possible conflict over the /usr/bin/ia namespace
TL;DR: new package from archive.org conflicts with existing `ia`
binary from python-duckduckgo2. Policy §10.1 consensus sought.
I'm in the process of packaging the Internet Archive (archive.org)
Python commandline client and that installs a client that is
conveniently called "ia" in /usr/bin. It's a simple wrapper around a
more elaborate Python library, but it allows a fairly complete set of
operations of the archive like searching, downloading, uploading and
Unfortunately, apt-file (is there a better way?) tells me that
python-duckduckgo2 already claimed that command namespace, along with
the ddg command, naturally.
I tried to figure out what the other package does: there's no
documentation in the Debian package, and neither command supports has
inline help or manpages. From what I can tell, the `ddg` command output
structured data from a DDG (DuckDuckGo.com) search and `ia` command does
a "feel lucky" type of request to output only one answer. This seems to
be somewhat related "Instant Answers" API (hence the `ia` acronym)
as defined here:
So the situation falls directly under section 10.1 of the Policy:
> Two different packages must not install programs with different
> functionality but with the same filenames.
The solution proposed by the policy is to rename one or both of the
packages, after a discussion here:
> [...] try to find a consensus about which program will have to be
> renamed. If a consensus cannot be reached, both programs must be
Obviously, DDG has the upper hand right now: it's already passed new and
is in the archive. My "internetarchive" package is only at the ITP stage
(in CC) but it's fairly complete and would be ready for upload. Right
now it Conflicts with the DDG package, but that's not the best solution
- I would need to rename the commandline binary to respect policy, if I
understand it correctly. But before doing that, I want to give the
Internet Archive a chance.
As an argument for the archive, I would say its acronym is more commonly
known and used than DDG's, which I found out for the first time here and
never heard about before. Wikipedia agrees; in this disambiguiation
page, DDG is not listed at the time of writing, while the Archive is:
The "snap" package `ia` also points to the archive's software:
Same for FreeBSD and, as far as I can tell, Arch Linux.
I would therefore propose for the python-duckduckgo2 ia binary to be
renamed to ddg-ia, as its "ia" use is only secondary in the package's
The alternative course of action would be to rename the ia binary in the
internetarchive package to "internetarchive" but that's rather long and
unusual: all upstream documentation refers to the `ia` binary and this
could confuse our users needlessly, especially since other platforms
also use the `ia` acronym to refer to the archive as well.
The source of the package is available here:
Progress in the packaging can be followed in the CC'd bug report.
With good faith and spirit, sorry for the long email and thanks for any
PS: there is, incidentally, also the question of how to name this
(source and binary!) package: python3-internetarchive, internetarchive
and ia would all be interesting names for various reasons. I would
prefer the latter, but it would obviously require the DDG side to rename
first to make any sense. The Debian Python policy on this is, as far as
I know, rather undecided right now, especially for packages like
internetarchive that mix libraries and commandline tools.
I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change.
I'm changing the things I cannot accept.
- Angela Davis