Dead links in Nixpkgs come every now and then. Two examples:
ncursestarball was deleted from upstream because it was outdated: https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/54042
- A patch for
boehm-gcin a git repo is referred to with an URL without specifying the commit hash, and the patch was later deleted: https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/commit/ac7f4c0478679cc6059bcf7f9bcefe2b5b604064
Although, as you can see, those were fixed pretty quickly, this still poses a question: How do we deal with these dead links?
https://cache.nixos.org has these fixed-output derivations, so the casual users that overrided some configuration options or patches do not notice that these links become dead. It seems to me that it only becomes a noticable problem for those using Nix with a non-
/nix/store store directory, which is definitely a minority.
But even though this problem might not affect the majority of the users, it does mean the quality of Nixpkgs rots as links become outdated.
Is there anything we could do about these links beyond manual checking? For example, can we periodically check fixed-output derivations to see if they still build fine? Or maybe we can track calls to
fetchurl and log all URLs and hashes, and re-download and check them?