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bug#43061: freedink package is needlessly complex

From: Jesse Gibbons
Subject: bug#43061: freedink package is needlessly complex
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 10:55:10 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Icedove/68.11.0

TL;DR The freedink package is defined in a complex way that breaks guix's custom source build features and the GUI wrapper.

The freedink package wraps the freedink-engine and freedink-data packages so the resulting executable bin/freedink runs the freedink engine pointed at the output of freedink-data. The wrapped packages are not exported from gnu/packages/games.scm. Because of these two design choices,

-> guix build --sources=all freedink does not list the freedink-data source.

-> the only way to get the freedink-data source is to run guix build --sources=transitive freedink. This is not ideas because it gets the source for bash as well.

-> "guix build --with-source=freedink-data=..." has no effect on freedink, so guix cannot be used to facilitate freedoms 1 and 3 with freedink, unlike most other packages. To be clear,  freedoms 1 (to modify the software) and 3 (to distribute the modified software) are not violated, but a very nice feature of guix that makes them less complex does not work with freedink. To achieve a guix install or pack of freedink as it is currently defined with custom sources and/or data, one must define new freedink packages, which is more work than one or two simple command-line flags.

-> freedink-dfarc does not find "dinkedit" or "dink", which are links to binaries built in freedink-engine. Once again, freedoms 1 and 3 are a little more difficult to exercise than reasonably expected given what guix provides, but not violated. To point freedink-dfarc to the correct binaries, one must copy the store location in the wrapper script produced by freedink. Obviously, this store location will not automatically be updated when freedink-engine is upgraded.

-> Because the wrapper hard-codes a location to look for the data, I suspect (but have yet to confirm) that an attempt to use freedink-dfarc to build a modified version of freedink will ultimately throw an error.

There must be a way to re-package freedink such that:

1) It works with the custom source build features provided by guix.

2) The guix wrapper freedink-dfarc is neither necessary for running freedink, nor broken when used to run freedink.

The solution could be as simple as publicly exposing freedink-engine and freedink-data, and redefining the freedink package to simply take the two packages as inputs and produce a wrapper script. The script should probably have a name other than "freedink" or "dink" so all three packages can optionally co-exist in the same profile without a name conflict. I will try this solution and send a patch if it passes the following tests:

-> The sources for all freedink-related packages can be produced with "guix build --source" or "guix build --sources=all"

-> all freedink-related packages can be installed and packed with modified local sources specified by --with-source

-> installing freedink does not add anything to the profile other than a wrapper script.

-> There is no name conflict between the executables provided by freedink-engine and freedink

If anyone knows why freedink is packaged the way it is and thinks it is better that way, I want to know your reasons before I begin to attempt to fix this issue, because those reasons could lead me to a different approach.

I suspect freedink is not the only package with these issues.


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