[Pkg-samba-maint] Bug#496206: smbfs: package description overhaul

Justin B Rye jbr at edlug.org.uk
Sat Aug 23 12:56:32 UTC 2008

Package: smbfs
Version: 2:3.2.1-1
Severity: minor

This is part of a set of related bugreports on the packages in the
Samba suite; I've already reported many of these issues (with some
suggested fixes) as a single bugreport on samba4 (see #486370), but
since that approach is a dud I'm trying the alternative of splitting
them up and targetting individual packages.

Current package description:         
# Description: mount and umount commands for the smbfs (for kernels >= than 2.2.x)
#  Smbfs is a filesystem which understands the SMB/CIFS protocol.
#  This is the protocol Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT or
#  LAN Manager use to talk to each other. It was inspired by
#  samba, the program by Andrew Tridgell that turns any unix
#  site into a file server for DOS or Windows clients.
#  .
#  If you want to use command-line utilities like smbclient, smbtar
#  and/or smbspool you just need to install the smbclient package.

Problems shared with other packages in the set:
* Samba is all about OS interoperability, so keep the OS names
	straight.  It's not for "any unix site", it's specifically
	for Linux, and not even Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, in this case!
	Likewise, "Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT or LAN
	Manager" is all very dated and inaccurate - SMB/CIFS works
	for Windows XP or (smbclient on) OpenVMS, too!  And why "or"
	instead of "and"?
* and the wishlist item: WIBNI all the packages in the suite had
	consistently styled short descriptions.

Problems unique to this package:
* oh, come on, Linux 2.2.x came out while Hamm was Stable!
* a trivial point: smbclient refers to "command line utilities",
	smbfs says "command-line".  Standardise on the two-word form
	(and similarly "file system").
* the long description is a description of the file system (provided
	until recently by a kernel module), not of the contents of
	this package.
* the description of the smbfs file system may be taken from the
	kernel docs, but it's not particularly good; for a start it
	doesn't mention that smbfs is a network file system!
* why concentrate on the smbfs file system here when the smbfs
	package contains not just the deprecated mount.smbfs but
	also mount.cifs?

Now that smbfs.ko is being removed from the kernel tree, this
package's name has gone from being merely unfortunate to being
seriously misleading.  If you can't rename the package to, say,
"smbmount", you can at least update its package description.

Suggested replacement text:
| Description: Samba file system utilities
|  The Samba software suite implements the SMB/CIFS protocol, providing
|  cross-platform support for Windows-style network shares.
|  .
|  This package provides mount and umount utilities for the cifs and
|  (deprecated) smbfs network file systems. Other command line utilities such
|  as smbclient, smbtar and smbspool are in the package smbclient.

JBR - please CC me (or the debian-l10n-english list) in replies

More information about the Pkg-samba-maint mailing list