tahoe-lafs packaging issues

Greg Troxel gdt at lexort.com
Fri Mar 19 15:14:58 UTC 2021

I've been paged out for a while, but previously looked after the
tahoe-lafs package in pkgsrc, and am again because 2.7-only packages are
causing extra maintenance burden and hence there is pressure to outright
remove them.  Some of this may be well known, but I'll type more and
assume less.

I'm assuming that it's important to the project to be in packaging
systems, so people can "${pkgfoo} install tahoe-lafs", for their
preferred value of pkgfoo, rather than having to engage with the
underlying language mechanims, not have automatic updates, and not have
automatic warnings of CVEs.  (Similarly, I'm assuming that while the
tahoe-lafs developers almost certainly don't use a packaging system for
tahoe, I would expect that they do for 95%+ of the other software they

I gather there is progress on a python 3 version from the trac roadmap,
but it's hard for me to tell what kind of timeline there is.  I realize
everyone understands that this is necessary.

From the packaging viewpoint (which I realize you may not be super
familiar with), the two basic problems are:

  python2.7 is EOL and not receiving security updates, so its continued
  presence is uncomfortable.

  Many python packages are releasing new versions that drop python2
  support, even though other programs in the open source world that
  depend on those packages are still python2 only.  The old versions do
  not receive security updates, and many other programs and modules
  depend on updated versions.

So, early on the strategy was to defer updates to packages if an update
would break some 2.7 only reverse dependency (thing that depends on the
package, to use the Debian term).  That was only ok for a few months,
and now our strategy is a combination of:

  Question the continued presence of things that are 2.7 only, in that
  if they are unmaintained, don't have users, etc. it may be just as
  well to rm them.

  Introduce versioned dependencies, where when building for 2.7, choose
  the last 2.7-capable (and thus no longer maintained) version of a
  python package, and for 3.x, choose the maintained version.  Add those
  old versions as necessary, when the work to do so seems worthwhile
  depending on what's being kept usable.

and at some point this will be untenable, and programs that don't
support 3 will just be removed from the packaging system.

(Debian is also heading down the path of removing python2 and has
already removed tahoe-lafs.


pkgsrc was at 1.12.1 (old I know) and I have done a trial update to
1.15.0.  However, that ran into a number of problems.

  magic-wormhole has a lot of dependencies and a few I have to add
  (which is fine).   However, quite a number of them have current
  releases which are 3.x only, so building a py27-magic-wormhole would
  require adding a bunch of versioned dependencies.

  There appear to be similar issues with tahoe-lafs itself requiring
  2.7-supporting and hence old, unmaintained versions of a few python
  packages (autobahn, txtorcon).  Perhaps txtorcon is actually optional;
  I'm having enough other problems that it's hard to tell.

It would help pkgsrc to update tahoe-lafs to 1.15.0, both for the usual
notion of users having a recent release, and because a number of really
old dependencies are no longer used (eg., py-crypto which we've patched
to use cryptodome instead).  One thing that would help that is if
magic-wormhole were not a hard requirement, and was only needed if not
tried to use a feature that uses it.  I don't know how hard that is, and
if that would really get us over the line to 1.15.x in pkgsrc.  And if a
3.x release is going to happen in the next 30 days, there's of course no

I tried to just comment it out, very hackily, and the built tahoe runs
enough to print the command help, as long as I have hand-installed an
old py27-autobahn.

My todo list is huge, and to be honest this isn't high on it, but I
wanted to let you know how this is heading, as I'm not at all sure how
the project views the situation.

I'd like to hear how the project sees this.

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