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[edit] What is it about?

An open discussion about how to make Debian a better system for mathematicians. Mathematical software is software that is useful to people doing mathematics. Examples include: computer algebra packages; interactive geometry software (e.g. kig); specialized software for e.g. graph isomorphism. For much of mathematics, exact or verifiable computation is an important feature, so packages like GMP are crucial.

[edit] Where and When?

[edit] Questions to be discussed

  • What should be long term priorities for Mathematical software in Debian?
    • Core packages?
    • Missing packages?
  • What should be the priorities for the next stable release?
    • High impact bugs?
  • Working with upstream
    • Licensing
    • Bundling of libraries
  • Working with each other
    • What are opportunities for colloboration?
    • Are we missing tools?

[edit] The special case of SAGE

One of the long-term packages that would be packaged should be SAGE (package: sagemath). It is, simply put, a "glue" of many packages related to Mathematics that are already in Debian.

From a distribution/packaging/shipping perspective, it presents some challenges, unique to it:

  • In its full version, it is simply huge
  • It is hard to have only a single maintainer keep up with it (as it would, essentially, mean be a maintainer of many other packages that are already packaged in Debian).
  • It currently is uninstallable in sid and has problems with the current python transition, as things have changed from python 2.5 to python 2.6
    • The "glue" part of the package is written in python
  • It used to (still does?) contain patches to the programs that it glues together that should be pushed to the maintainers/upstreams of other packages. This requires a bit of legwork.
  • (something of a lower priority, perhaps:) Since it is huge, the user should be allowed to use it installing as few dependencies as possible (otherwise, it may end up installing, say, a web server or an SQL server---you get the idea, via indirect dependencies). This would mean that putting together a live CD for sagemath is harder than it should be, for size reasons.
  • The upstream release cycle is regular and short (about 1 month, if I am not mistaken)
    • Partly due to the short release cycle, the upstream team is unhappy with the current situation of the packages in Debian.
    • The upstream project discourages the use of the version in Debian and something must be done about this.
    • Since the package is uninstallable, it is a RC bug, but it is likely that the package will just get dropped from the distribution.
    • The current maintainer of sagemath in Debian (apparently) doesn't seem to mind to hand over the maintainance to other people:
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