Debian's Anti-Harassment Team Is Removing A Package Over Its Name
Written by Michael Larabel in Debian on 20 December 2018 at 01:48 AM EST. 215 Comments
DEBIAN --
The latest notes from the Debian anti-harassment team on Wednesday caught my attention when reading, "We were requested to advice on the appropriateness of a certain package in the Debian archive. Our decision resulted in the package pending removal from the archive." Curiosity got the best of me... What package was deemed too inappropriate for the Debian archive?

When digging further, the package raised to the Debian Anti-Harassment Team was "Weboob." Weboob is short for "Web Outside of Browsers" as it's an open-source collection of software to script and automate the parsing/scraping/gathering-via-API of web data so that it can be consumed by different modules/applications. Weboob.org describes itself as "Weboob is a collection of applications able to interact with websites, without requiring the user to open them in a browser. It also provides well-defined APIs to talk to websites lacking one."

Weboob is Python-based and offers Qt-based user interfaces for accessing these different modules for reading data from different web-sites outside of any conventional web browser. Those interested can learn more about the software at Weboob.org. But, yes, the name is juvenile and likely inappropriate in most professional/corporate environments. Also raised were issues with the icons/artwork like:

Additionally, Weboob has some module/application names as well with "boob" in the string. Silly and juvenile, but should this package, which isn't installed by default on Debian or otherwise featured by the Linux distribution, worth removing from the package repository over the naming convention?

Weboob was initially added to Debian back in 2010 and has been maintained since although briefly removed. A few months back though the issue was raised over the name/project having sexual references and that goes against the Debian Diversity Statement and values.

During the discussions over the project's name, the following statement was added by the package maintainer to it: "Note from the Maintainer: This software, included binaries and maybe other content contain childish references to a specific women's body part. Upstream refused to rename it. There is no diminishing or insulting message so I decided to keep it in the archive. You may nevertheless feel uncomfortable using this tool."

The Debian Anti-Harassment Team ruled that Weboob is against the Debian Code of Conduct in needing to be respectful. The team called for the program's removal from the Debian archive or to otherwise patch/fork it to remove the name/branding. Should the package not be addressed, they say the Debian FTP master should unilaterally remove the package.

Debian Project Leader Chris Lamb has indeed gone ahead with the request to the Debian FTP master to remove Weboob.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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