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Re: ChangeLog format

Bruce Perens writes ("Re: ChangeLog format "):
> Please make sure, whatever [alternative] upload announcement format
> you design, that it is machine-readable so that it can be used to
> (at least partially) automate the FTP site administration
> process. The format should state in an unambiguous-to-parse fashion
> the names of all files uploaded, the size and MD5 checksum of the
> files, and the expected destination of those files. I'd like it to
> be possible to at least partially automate the FTP
> archive-management process and to audit the FTP site using the
> package-announcement files.

My format is suitable, except for one piece of information which it
doesn't contain: the subsection for the package.  I'm not convinced
that this information ought to be supplied by the package maintainer,
rather than the distribution.

There is already a file on the FTP site which contains a list of
packages with corresponding Priority and Section values - perhaps the
FTP site management program(s) should read that file ?

> Having the input script for the debian-changes mailing list translate
> the machine-readable upload announcement to something more
> human-readable might be a desirable feature.

No, I don't think so, because that way I'd have to translate my
already-machine-readable-but-also-human-readable changelogs into the
non-human-readable-and-still-machine-readable format you design, just
so that your program can turn them back again.

If you want a program that takes as input an announcement in my format
and extracts some information in a way that's easy to handle I'll give
you one; just tell me what the output should look like.

stick@richnet.net writes ("Re: post-release package update policy"):
> James A. Robinson said:
> > Matthew Swift <swift@bu.edu> said:
> > > I'm not sure what's wrong with having an evolving system called Debian.
> > 
> > The problem is not installing, but downloading updates. It is hard to
> > keep track of which packages have changed, unless we use mirror (or, I
> > guess, dftp).
> This was my motivation for suggesting that we integrate FTP capabilities
> into the debian-changes messages, via MIME.  I haven't heard much feed-
> back on the idea, except that it looked cumbersome to non-MIME mail readers.
> I believe that MIME would offer us a measure of automation in the whole
> process.

MIME does look unacceptably clumsy on non-MIME mail readers.  I don't
think we need anything that complicated.

How about a single Changelog file on the distribution site, which gets
updated when packages are moved into view ?

If you want to see what has changed you download the Changelog and
compare (by eye, using diff, or whatever) it with the copy you took
the first time.

stick@richnet.net writes ("Re: post-release package update policy"):
> Michael Alan Dorman said:
> > It would also be good if it could be used on a non-debian system, so 
> > people with shell access could use it from said account.  Not that _I'm_ 
> > in that situation, but someone has to be...
> A MIME-based tool would fit that requirement.  A mail server could be used
> to solve the issues Winfried proposed, but I'm not advocating that with
> my MIME proposals.

I'm opposed to the idea that our release announcements should be
MIME-ified.  There's no reason to do so, because we wouldn't be making
use of any of the things where MIME's strengths lie.

A plain text Changelog file on the distribution site is the best


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