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 unstable main
deb-src unstable main

After installing python-unrardll Calibre will happily import meta-data from rar-compressed eBooks, as well as display them.


5 Responses

  1. Paul Wise says:

    An alternative might be to use the new DFSG-free libunarr library:

    • Wasn’t it you who pointed me at that the last time, too? 😉
      Unfortunately these are completely incompatible libraries, and adjusting the unrardll code to use the unarr library seems a bit of a challenge, especially since the unarr library doesn’t give very detailed access to the rar file structure. Comparing the two header files didn’t give me much hope.

  2. Bernardo Bandos says:

    Hi, have you removed the packages from your repository? I was trying to install them precisely to get calibre to work wit CBR comics, but they seem to have disappeared.

    • Hi, yes the packages are removed from my personal sure because you can install everything from Debian already 😉 linunrar is available as well as unrardll.

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