Calibre and rar support – again
I have written here several times about Calibre, as well as my trials to get RAR support into the non-free part of Debian, mostly because I have also a few cbr files that I want to see supported. Unfortunately, the maintainer of unrar-nonfree hasn’t been responsive, so let’s go salvaging …
Rar support is necessary in the case that the eBook uses rar as compression, which happens quite often in comic books (cbr extension). Calibre 3 has split out rar support into a dynamically loaded module, so what needs to be done is packaging it. I have prepared a package for the Python library unrardll which allows Calibre to read rar-compressed ebooks, but it depends on the unrar shared library, which unfortunately is not built in Debian. I have sent a patch to fix this to the maintainer, see bug 720051, but without reaction from the maintainer.
This has passed now the time-frame of a year, so I have decided to “salvage” unrar-nonfree. Package salvaging has been recently introduced into the Debian ecosystem to step in between leaving the package in dire state and the full MIA process:
Package salvaging is the process by which one attempts to save a package that, while not officially orphaned, appears poorly maintained or completely unmaintained. This is a weaker and faster procedure than orphaning a package officially through the powers of the MIA team. Salvaging a package is not meant to replace MIA handling, and differs in that it does not imply anything about the overall activity of a maintainer. Instead, it handles a package maintainership transition for a single package only, leaving any other package or Debian membership or upload rights (when applicable) untouched.
– Debian Developers Reference
I have now started this process by filing a Intent to Salvage bug, though I still hope that the original maintainer takes up interest again. Baring any reaction from the maintainer, I will upload an updated unrar-nonfree package to the DELAYED queue in about three weeks. After it has been transitioned through this DELAYED queue and entered unstable, I will upload unrardll package to provide support for Calibre.
In the meantime, an updates unrar-nonfree package, as well as the preliminary unrardll package are available on my local repository which are signed with my Debian key 0x6CACA448860CDC13
deb http://www.preining.info/debian/ unstable main deb-src http://www.preining.info/debian/ unstable main
After installing python-unrardll Calibre will happily import meta-data from rar-compressed eBooks, as well as display them.