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Re: Debian for Linux/{non-i386} / source packaging

Ian Jackson <ian@chiark.chu.cam.ac.uk>> said (quoting out of order):

> [...]  we need to consider what our requirements are, and
> make some overall design decisions.  I think we have several
> conflicting requirements.

> 2a. That upstream source should be unmodified.
> 3. All of the ways of unpacking our source packages should unpack into
> a subdirectory, and there should be a consistent naming scheme for
> those subdirectories.
> [...]
> Requirements 2a and 3 are clearly in conflict.

Are they?  If our unpacked sources are identical to the unpacked sources
obtained directly from the upstream source tarfile (or sharfile, or
whatever), leaving aside the name of the directory which the sources have
unpacked into, I'd call them identical.

> 6a. The package maintainer should not have to download and upload more
> stuff than is necessary.
> 6b. Disk usage at the distribution site should be no larger than
> necessary.

There was some discussion at one time suggesting that debian diffs
could/should be applied to upstream sources retrieved from elsewhere
(and, by implication, that we need not supply copies of the upstream
sources as a part of the debian distribution, but just opint out
where they can be found).  I was always leery of that idea, and I don't
think anyone is doing it.  I think the debian distribution needs to
include the full sources, as it does now, not just the diffs.  I haven't
heard a suggestion recently that we supply just the diffs, but thought
I'd highlight this point in light of #6 above.

In light of #6a, I would favor some discussion of a mechanism to support
package "patches", similar in concept to source file patches.  I brought
this up once, and got it promptly shoved back down my throat.  I still
think it has merit.  I tend to think about how much merit it has every
time I need to upload a megabyte or so of data files to make a trivial
change to an already-uploaded package.

> 1. It is important to have a single file that can be downloaded and
> then unpacked using a single command to produce the Debianised
> source.  This will make it much easier to build packages from source.

I tend to agree with Ian here, but think the opportunity for discussion
should be offered.  Anyone who disagrees with this should should speak
up before it becomes a solid requirement.

Currently we have two files: .tar.gz and .diff.gz. The .tar.gz file
currently contains debianized source, so the .diff.gz file isn't needed
to produce them.  If we place extractable pristine sources in this new
single file, we'd need to also include debianizing diffs or the equivalent.
The file format used to contain the sources and diffs needs to be decided
upon. I'd like to participate in the discussion of the format of this
single file before that format is cast in stone.

> As far as I can see we have one important choice to make before we
> consider any details: do we go for some kind of `proprietary' format,
> [...]  or do we go for some straightforward combination of tarfiles
> and things, which can be manipulated by scripts or by hand on any sane
> Unix system [...] ?

Without getting into specifics, I plunk down solidly for a non-proprietary
format, unless the need to use a proprietary format can be solidly justified.

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