Re: ChangeLog format
There are two things here: the Changelog format and the announcement
format. I think it is probably valuable to separate them.
The announcements should contain the Changelog entries since the last
announced version, and they also need to contain the MD5 checksums,
filenames and file sizes.
The Changelog (for a package or the distribution) will contain all the
relevant Changelog entries, but no filenames &c.
Since individual packages need a Changelog themselves, it makes sense
to have the package maintainer write their Changelog in the same
format as appears in the release announcements and in the global
That way they can just cut-and-paste the Changelog entry they have
made into the release announcement, append the file information, and
send it off.
Regarding the delays between announcements on debian-changes and
packages' appearance in the distribution directories:
I find it very useful to have information about packages which are on
their way to Incoming - this means I can grab them out of there (when
they're completely uploaded) without having to wait for anyone to
move packages or make announcements.
This can also be important for programs with security problems or
other urgent bugfixes.
We shouldn't just move packages automatically out of incoming, because
this would make us far too vulnerable to random people uploading bogus
stuff, so this delay can't be eliminated.
The conclusion I come to is that there should be at least two lists -
one which announces the packages when they're released by the
maintainer (and which perhaps has an automatically-generated report
from the FTP site maintainer when packages are moved), and one which
announces them as they are moved into view.
I attach below copies of the only programs (apart from Emacs) I use to
generate my Changelog entries. They're pretty much hand-edited: I
copy the last version's entry, delete the text, and use the `822-date'
script to produce a sensible dateline.
I use the equivalent of `md5sum *' and `ls -al *' to produce the
MD5 checksum, filename &c information at the bottom of my
Note that none of what I'm saying above means that we need a horrible
un-human-readable changelog or announcement format at any stage. My
format is perfectly machine-readable. If people want me to write
scripts to parse my changelog entries and release announcements I'd be
only too happy to do so, or to document my format so that they can doo