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about policy manuals (was Re: dpkg-genchanges failing - why?)

On 29 Jan 1998, Manoj Srivastava wrote:

> >>"Oliver" == Oliver Elphick <olly@lfix.co.uk> writes:
> Oliver> In the end I managed to decipher the Perl script.  The problem
> Oliver> was because I had numbered the new version 1.3_0.82-1.
> 	And promptly violated policy, I think. Well, if not policy,
>  then the packaging manual, which should be considered authoritative
>  in these kind of cases.

This reminds me of a clarification I always wanted to send to
debian-devel: which of our manuals are authoritative? 

Currently, there are three important `policy manuals' (note, the plural

  Debian Policy Manual
      -- describes how we want our distribution to be and how programs
         have to be configured to fit into the distribution

  Debian Packaging Manual
      -- describes how dpkg works and how it has to be used for building
         packages for our distribution

  Debian Developer's Reference
      -- describes how certain aspects of development are done

So in a way, the Policy Manual explains where we want to get to, the
Packaging Manual explains how we get there--regarding technical topics. 

The Developer's Reference is something like a `Maintainer's Policy Manual'
(does not give guidelines for packages, but for maintainers :).

In addition, I'm working on a fourth manual, the `Debian Project Manual',
which will describe the more `political' topics of Debian. These are the
history and the goals of the project (including Manifesto, Social Contract
and DFSG) and the organizational structure. (Of course, this manual will
be approved by all developers first before it's officially released. I'll
announce this on debian-private once I'm finished with the first draft.)

Any changes that are done to either of these manuals have to be approved
by all Debian developers in order to become authoritative. (This is
usually done through the Policy Weekly postings.)

With that,   _all these manuals are considered authoritative_.

(I hope that there aren't too many contradictions in these manuals ;)

As always, comments are welcome!



--                  Christian Schwarz
                     schwarz@monet.m.isar.de, schwarz@schwarz-online.com,
Debian has a logo!    schwarz@debian.org, schwarz@mathematik.tu-muenchen.de
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