Conflicting filenames in upstream packages

James Westby jw+debian at
Mon Aug 4 09:58:16 PDT 2008

On Mon, 2008-08-04 at 09:41 -0700, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
> How do other distributions deal with conflicting filenames in upstream 
> packages?  For instance, in Fedora we have coda-client and coq packaged. 
>   They both provide /usr/bin/parser.


Debian (and by extension Ubuntu) has the same attitude it seems.

There are a couple of approaches you can use

  * Alternatives, if both /usr/bin/parser were command 
    line compatible implementations of the same thing then they
    can use "alternatives" to make themselves co-installable and
    let the administrator choose which /usr/bin/parser
    invokes. Think java compilers.

  * Conflicts, if the two packages are not meant to be installed
    together then a conflicts is appropriate. However, shipping
    the same filename isn't a good enough reason on it's own.
    If the two packages are unrelated and just have a filename
    clash you are not supposed to conflict.

  * Renaming, as you said, if there is no other choice then
    one or the other must rename the file.

I realise that's more than you asked for, but you might be interested
in the policies behind it as well as the end result.

> If other distros have a policy of name changing, it would be nice to 
> start a list of packages that we're doing renames to so that we could at 
> least have consistency between ourselves.

That would be an interesting idea, and a good use for the wiki I expect.

I don't imagine there is a better way of finding existing cases
than asking developers where they know of any?



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