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Re: /usr/doc transition and other things

Anthony Towns wrote:
> Fourth, Raul also points out that debian-policy isn't a constitutional
> body, it can only act under the auspices of the technical committee. That
> is, just because we reach a consensus on -policy how to deal with an
> issue, we can't suddenly declare 1000s of packages [2] buggy --- we're
> just individual developers, we can only worry about our own packages. I
> agree with Raul in that that situation isn't really -right-, the -policy
> group should definitately be able to make policy when we reach a consensus
> on an issue, and I think his response to that: that the tech ctte should
> rubberstamp issues reached by consensus.

That would be awful.  Having to wait while something is rubberstamped,
just to get around an issue of protocol -- that just adds a useless
layer to something that is already ponderous.  This is a volunteer
project, not a phone company!

No, the debian-policy list is responsible for the Policy Manual, and
maintains it to the best of its collective ability.  The result is 
good enough for the Debian Project to adopt as its policy for package
maintenance.  As long as that state of affairs continues, we're doing
it right.

As we've seen, the move to /usr/share/doc is one where we've goofed --
the Debian Project is _not_ following policy on that point, and it's
because of active disagreement, not just inertia.  So we'll have to
do it better.  Perhaps some transitions are just too large to be handled
this way -- libc6 was another failure, where the policy manual took
a year to catch up with existing practice.  As far as I know, packages
with libc5-compat libraries are still in violation :-)

But this is a particular class of problem; that we have trouble with
it does not mean that the process is fundamentally broken.  We'll just
have to figure out how to deal with large transitions.  The one from
/usr/doc/copyright/foo to /usr/doc/foo/copyright is an example of
a transition that went fine; perhaps it was simply small enough, or
perhaps we can learn something from it.

If the Technical Committee wants to be involved, then I suggest it
should simply confirm the adoption of the Policy Manual as Debian's
policy for package maintenance, possibly reserving the right to make
specific exeptions.

Richard Braakman

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