debian clisp package

Luca Capello luca at
Tue Nov 4 00:41:17 UTC 2008

Hi Sam!

I should apologize for being late: I planned to reply to your mail in
the next days and providing patches.  Unfortunately, I was then caught
by other work, both for my real life and for Debian.

BTW, I read the pkg-common-lisp mailing list on a regular basis, so you
do not need to cc: me.

On Fri, 24 Oct 2008 21:50:39 +0200, Sam Steingold wrote:
> now that clisp 2.47 has been released, you are 3 releases behind. :-)

I know, but as you have probably heard Debian is (still) frozen, trying
to release a new stable.  Now, while this does not mean that new
packages can be uploaded to experimental, I would prefer to avoid any
work until lenny will be out.

> A couple notes about the debian package:
> 1. README.Debian says "In order to use the "disassemble" function you
> must install gdb". this is NOT true. gdb is only necessary to
> disassemble functions written in C, e.g., car. functions written in
> lisp and compiled to byte code can be disassembled without gdb.

Something like the following patch?

--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
diff --git a/debian/README.Debian b/debian/README.Debian
index 999fd48..b4ea3e7 100644
--- a/debian/README.Debian
+++ b/debian/README.Debian
@@ -16,5 +16,6 @@ system calls to be made from clisp (e.g. resolve-host-ipaddr).

-    In order to use the "disassemble" function you must install gdb.
+    In order to use the "disassemble" function written in C you must
+install gdb.  Any other function written in Common Lisp and compiled
+to bytecode can be disassembled without gdb.
--8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---

> 2. you are distributing clisp-link.1 - I don't think this is a good idea.

Debian is quite strict WRT to executables, i.e. every executables should
have a manpage.  That is why I wrote it [1].  Thus, shipping it is in
any case a win for Debian, but let me check your remarks.

> A. clisp-link is rarely invoked by the user at the command line,
> usually it is used from Makefiles.

While I agree on this, I also know that people tend to not follow
upstream recommendation and documentation.  And in my experience, the
first thing I do when I try a new program is to test the --help|-h
options and `man program` ;-)

> B. clisp-link is already fully documented in the impnotes.

Debian ships the impnotes as part of the clisp-doc package, which means
that in most of the case the impnotes will not be available together
with the clisp-link executable.

My idea was to provide the basic notions, i.e. the same thing we can
discover if you read the source.  Maybe should I add a note in the
manpage to direct the user to the full documentation in the impnotes?

> C. you are installing clisp-link.1 in /usr/share/man/man1 together
> with clisp.1 but clisp-link does not go into /usr/bin together with
> clisp, it lives in /usr/lib/clisp/ which is not normally in the $PATH.

This is a good point: however, I cannot find any other manpage section
more suitable for clisp-link.1.  Obviously, if Debian decides to drop
it, this point will be fixed as well.

> 3. clisp-dev appears to depend on gcc 4.1 (at least when I try to
> install clisp-dev on ubuntu, it wants to install gcc 4.1 in addition
> to the standard gcc 4.2, see

It seems that the version you tried is an old one, since the one in
Debian does not depend on any gcc version (both clisp and clisp-dev
packages), at least from version 1:2.43-1.

> this is eminently wrong. even if clisp itself is compiled with gcc
> 4.1, it can link with modules compiled with gcc 4.2, so there is no
> reason for clisp-dev to pull gcc 4.1 (the same for bison, xutils,
> groff &c &c).

This could be a problem for Debian: if we build clisp with a specific
gcc version, then we should depend on that version, since different gcc
versions can be installed at the same time.

> PS. Is there a way to report debian bugs other than via e-mail as
> described in ?

No, and I am happy for this, since every web-based BTS I tried is IMHO a
mess, while I can easily work from my Emacs whenever I need to deal with
the Debian BTS :-D

Please just send a mail to submit at, with the Package
pseudoheader [2]: this is the only required information for the bug to
be assigned to the correct package (and thus the notification being sent
to the maintainer).  I will take care of adding the missing information
(like the package version) and/or any other intervention is needed.

Thx, bye,
Gismo / Luca

[1] I still remember that you asked me to convert clisp-link.1 to
    docbook/xml, but since it is a completely new language to me I need
    to sit down and learn it
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