Bug#619284: Chapter 7.7 of the Policy disagrees with reality
forcemerge 604397 619284
Robert Luberda wrote:
> reassign 619284 debian-policy
(For the future: please remember that debbugs does not automatically
cc your message to the package you are reassigning to.)
> I implemented a work-around in ispell 3.3.02-3, so the bug no longer
> affects ispell. But the issue still exists, and I think it's the Policy
> to blame of it in the first place. Build-*Indep fields are pretty much
> useless if build-arch and build-indep targets are optional - and I
> believe this should be fixed in Policy:
Yes, I strongly agree.
> - by making the build-arch, build-indep obligatory for all packages or
> at least for those source packages that provide architecture dependent
> and independent binaries (in such a case dpkg-dev or sbuild could use
> value of Standards-Version to determine if build-arch is available)
See  and  for some summaries of the current status. The
particular migration path you propose seems problematic since it ties
this transition with other ones, and Raphaël Hertzog has indicated he
does not want to use it for that reason.
But have no fear! There are many other possible migration paths
without that problem.
> - or possibly by requiring packages to provide somewhere information
> about optional debian/rules targets that it implements (see #229357).
I've been convinced this (a Build-Options field) is the fastest safe
way to make the change. I don't think there is any need to wait on
policy to implement it in dpkg fwiw. (The point where policy is
relevant is deploying in the archive.)
> - or by removing the -Indep fields (the worst option IMHO).
I don't think anyone considers that an option.
Another migration path (slower but possible to carry out in parallel
with the above) would be:
1. dpkg-buildpackage learns a --force-build-arch (better names
welcome) option for the operator to use to declare that yes,
this package has a build-arch target that should be used;
2. Packagers voluntarily start adding build-arch and build-indep
targets following the current policy.
3. This becomes a "best practice", probably documented by devref.
4. Once critical mass is reached, it becomes mandated by policy
and the default on dpkg-buildpackage changes to
Hope that helps,