|FROM ||Rick Moen
|SUBJECT ||Re: [Hangout-NYLXS] aptget
|From hangout-bounces-at-nylxs.com Wed Feb 15 19:25:42 2017
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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:25:29 -0800
From: Rick Moen
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Subject: Re: [Hangout-NYLXS] aptget
Reply-To: NYLXS Discussions List
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Quoting Ruben Safir (ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com):
> how do I make a package for aptget from firefox?
I happen to know from telephone discussion what your _actual_ problem
is, and you aren't bothering to mention it, which means people cannot
help you address your real problem.
You have a laptop (originally some sort of ThinkPad, maybe a T400 or
X200, from UK vendor Ministry of Freedom, minifree.org) that had its
system BIOS replaced (I guess, socketed ROM) with a build of LibreBoot,
which is a militant-free-software fork of CoreBoot. LibreBoot has been
somehow hard-coded to branch to an installation of GRUB on the hard
drive that has been preconfigured to branch to a Trisquel OS preload.
Triquel GNU/Linux is a militant-free-software OS, based on some Ubuntu
Linux or other, that doesn't include Firefox because anti-free
blah-blah DRM-support blah-blah, but rather GNU IceCat. If you complain
and say you'd like to figure yout how to install Firefox, you're advised
to try Abrowser, which is an unbranded version of Firefox tweaked to
never recommend unfree software.
If you complain about _that_ and ask help figuring out how to install
Firefox, as Ruben did, the grand panjandrums of Triquel GNU/Linux
accuse you of 'trolling' and being a Very Bad Person (according to
Ruben's recounting that I can well believe).
Through long interaction with you over the telephone, I answered your
questions about how to deal with your _real_ problem (LibreBoot /
Triquel) and gain actual fundamental control over your computer's boot
process. You never bothered to say what happened, so I have zero
You know, one of the really extraordinarily frustrating aspects of
giving people expert technical advice is that far too many such people
are just black holes for information you give: You advise them about
how to get a handle on their problems, and they never tell you anything
useful back. It's actually a bit demoralising, Ruben.
So, in short: I've given you quite a bit of advice about how to get
into control over your POST and bootup processes, so _you_ can decide
what OS to run. IMO, any computing device where you cannot do so is
of very limited use: It fails to qualify as a general-purpose computing
device. Except for certain embedded appliances like my 2000s Motorola
RAZRv3 non-smartphone, my dedicated ebook reader, and my PDA, I would
sell the computer in question and buy something I could control.
Did you get into _actual_ control of your ThinkPad? What did you try?
What happened when you tried that? If it didn't work, why are you
keeping the damned thing and not selling it on a greater-fool theory?
But you are now defining the problem as 'How do I make a package for
aptget [sic] from Firefox?' This isn't actually _even_ what you think
you want. You are thereby overconstraining the solution to a problem
you think you have.
What you _think_ you want is to construct a .deb of Firefox locally that
is then installable on your radical-free-software Ubuntu variant.
However, you'd be perfectly happy to have that as already prebuilt
software. You _don't_ actually require installation of a qualifying
piece of software via /usr/bin/apt-get . That's just the utterly wrong
way you phrased the question.
What you _really_ want is Firefox on a reasonable Linux distribution.
Which means you want a reasonable Linux distribution rather than
Triquel. But you didn't say that, because you're floundering around
_Granting_ for the sake of discussion that you're sticking with Triquel,
which seems incredibly bizarre because obviously you don't like it,
it's not _at all_ obvious to me that your best solution is to build the
software locally, especially given that Firefox is extremely complex
software with many runtime dependencies and even more build
What you would thus be logically most looking for is a third-party deb
repository for Firefox. _Or_, since this is some kinda eccentric Ubuntu
variant for FSF hippies, you could use Ubuntu's adorable little walled
garden of add-on software for Ubuntu that are hosted at
ppa.launchpad.net: Personal Package Archives.
Here is one PPA, for firefox-next:
Here is introductory text about PPAs:
Now, I really don't like the idea of PPAs very much: software walled
gardens are not my cuppa. It might be smarter to use Ubuntu repos.
Warning: Adding third-party repos to a deb-based distro can mess up the
distro. Therefore, it would be at minimum a superb idea to use
package-pinning (apt preferences) to ensure that the source in question
is _never_ used except when specifically invoked from the apt-get
command line using option '-t [thing]'. Example, assuming the new apt
sources would be like this block cited at the above-specified URL:
--- begin cut here ---
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu trusty universe multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty universe
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty-updates universe
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty-updates multiverse
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu trusty-security universe
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu trusty-security multiverse
--- end cut here ---
The 'thing' in question is thus 'trusty', which was Trusty Tahr, Ubuntu 14.04
(April 2014 release). To package-pin those sources to a _low_ priority
(sub-100) and prevent the sources from being used by default, you could
add this to /etc/apt/preferences:
--- begin cut here ---
Pin: release a=unstable
--- end cut here ---
Do NOT use Trusty Tahr in 2017. It's obsolete. Your job is to
determine what Ubuntu release is believed compatible with your release
of Trisquel (that you hate and rationally should be seeking to blow
away), and use references and /etc/apt/sources.list or
/etc/apt/sources.list.d/* lines appropriate to it.
Oh, and, just to be clear, the corresponding command syntax would be
# apt-get -t [thing] install packagename
Given that this is an adorable toy Ubuntu thing, season with sudo to suit.
Tip about pinning is from, ta-da! -- basic Debian user documentation,
and cribbed here from my ancient debian-tips file.
The experts say that using pinning in this fashion (values < 100) is
bass-ackwards from the intended mode of use. That's what happens when I
discover software features through experimentation rather than from
reading documentation. But it works.
The effect of '-t [thing]' is that the specified package(s) and
immediately necessary dependencies _only_ are fetched from the specified
apt source. Invocations of apt without that switch won't go there.
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