Joachim Breitner

How to fork privately?

Published 2008-02-08 in sections English, Debian.

I am very fond of Jean-Yves Lefort’s link-monitor-applet, which puts little bars in my panel that display the ping time to certain hosts. Very useful, especially since I’m often using a shaky wireless connection.

With the latest release, though, the author added an icon next to these bars. He argued that the small bars, if there are only few of them, are hard to hit with the mouse, and therefore added this icon as a usability improvement for less advanced users.

But for me, this makes the applet almost unusable, as I just don’t have the space left for a useless icon. Things are here proably worse because the icon is higher than wide, scales to the maximum size that fits the panel and my panel is vertical and slightly wider than the normal horizontal panel is wide.

I asked the author to make this behaviour configurable or to hide the icon when there are more than three hosts to display (with patch included), but he wanted to stick to the icon. So what are my options? I could manually download and extract the source, apply the patch and build the package every time a new version is uploaded to Debian but shouldn’t this be easier?

If Debian were not 20 but 2 years old I assume that all sources would be in one big git/darcs/hg/whatever repository, with something like the SuSE build service, which would automatically build the packages, and I could make my system automatically track a branch of the “real” Debian with my patches added. But at the moment, this would be utopical.

I could imagine creating something smilar that would track the uploads to debian and, if link-monior-applet is uploaded, tries to automatically build a package with my modification, providing this in an apt repository that has a high apt priority for me. Has anyone done that already, or tried it, or thought about that?


You could use Gentoo where this is more or less trivial.
#1 Julian am 2008-02-08
What about using a gconf option for whether to show the icon?

I agree a GUI-configurable option is probably better.

I don't have any helpful suggestions insofar as automatically applying your own local patch to each version, though.
#2 Ted Percival (Homepage) am 2008-02-08
Actually, I don’t think a GUI option would be wise, it goes against the Gnome way of not having too many not very useful configuration options.

A hidden gconf option for power users is a possibility, I wonder if Jean-Yves could live with that.
#3 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2008-02-08
question: if development of some piece of software is going off in some weird direction you don't like, and the version you have works just fine, then why would you want to upgrade?
#4 ray am 2008-02-08
I think there will be further improvements that I do want − it is not the general direction of the program that I have problems with, just one small decision.

Otherwise you were right, just sticking to that version would be a mid-term solution.
#5 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2008-02-08
Has the author really understood your problem? I would attach a before/after screenshot to the bug report if I were you.
#6 MBL am 2008-02-08
Yes, maybe I’ll do that, thanks for the suggestion.
#7 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2008-02-08
Are you not simply wondering about apt-source ? it fetches debian revised sources and allows building a package I guess it's easy to patch in between...
#8 Axioplase (Homepage) am 2008-02-10
<strong>Trackback:</strong> <a href="">How to fork privately</a><br />

A few days ago, I asked how to fork a debian package privately. I got some repsonses by comments, e-Mail and other blog posts, and I want to summarize the tools that were suggested. I have not really tried them, just looked at the webpages, the document
#9 nomeata’s mind shares (Homepage) am 2008-02-11

Have something to say? You can post a comment by sending an e-Mail to me at <>, and I will include it here.