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Re: web address in control file

On Mon, 2 Feb 1998, James A.Treacy wrote:

> > What do we want this field for ?  Do we want programs to be able to
> > read and use it ?  If so, which programs ?  Do we want the user to be
> > able to see it ?  If so, users who install the package, users who
> > browse the package listing, or users who install the source ?
> > 
> > When we have answered these questions we will know whether to have
> > this field and where to put it.
> > 
> One reason to standardize the location and format of this information
> is so users can access this information without downloading the entire
> package. Not everything in the world should go into the Packages files
> as they are getting quite large. The contents file was one location
> suggested.
> If this information was available in an easy to parse form it could be
> included in our Packages pages on the web, for example.
> > I'm not resistant to the idea of having a field for this.  I think
> > it's a reasonably good idea, unlike the proposed upstream author field
> > (which would just annoy upstream authors, if we gave their address at
> > least).
> > 
> Agreed about upstream author field. The package maintainer should filter
> bug reports before sending them upstream.

Note, that the intention of the `Upstream-Author' field was to give credit
to the right person. Some newbies might think that the `Maintainers:' are
those who wrote the program...

> > Perhaps this discussion should be on debian-policy ?
> > 
> Hopefully Christian Schwarz will comment. There has already been
> discussion on this but there is a holdup on implementation (whichever
> solution was decided on) due to the relevant developer(s) being busy.

Here I am! The whole discussion has been postponed some time ago because
Klee told me, he's working on a new "dpkg source format" and we should
wait with the new control fields until he presents a first draft. However,
this is so long ago and I haven't heard from him since, so I propose to
raise the control field discussion again, now.

(Of course, we can move the discussion to debian-policy, if you all
agree. Doesn't matter to me since I'm subscribed to both lists ;-)

One more thing: Brian White sent me an `official' request for a
"Keywords:" control field a few days ago. This field should contain some
`classification' of packages (orthogonal to the "Section:") which will be
used by deity. (I think the user will be able to select different
Keywords: he's intrested in.)

Other keywords that have been suggested before:

Author: name and email of main upstream author (copyright holder)
 -- see above

License: keyword describing license type
 -- personally, I don't think this field would be a good idea. Licenses 
are very complicated and we should not try to `categorize' them with a
single keyword. If at all, this field should probably only by "DFSG: yes"
or "DFSG: no" :-)

Mailing-Lists: upstream mailing lists
 -- actually, I think the /usr/doc/<pkg>/README file would be the correct
place for this info--but someone suggested it

URL: (see above)

Someone also suggested that we include most of the LSM-entries in the
control field. However, I don't really think we should pack that much
information into the control fields. The control fields are for dpkg and
should not be used as `Debian Software Map' :-)

After all, all control fields are also included in the Packages,
available, and status files. Note, that these files are already very

However, I do think that having more information about the packages would
be nice. Perhaps each package should install a file /usr/doc/<pkg>/info
(or something like that) which uses the control-file syntax and contains
info about the upstream author, URL, mailing lists, etc. Then, all
programs which need to collect this data from the packages could easily
extract that file from the .debs.

(We could also have dinstall on master collect the info files out of the
.debs and put them together in a large Packages-info.gz file. The web
scripts and deity could then use this file if the info data is needed.)

Comments are welcome!



--          _,,     Christian Schwarz
           / o \__   schwarz@monet.m.isar.de, schwarz@schwarz-online.com,
           !   ___;   schwarz@debian.org, schwarz@mathematik.tu-muenchen.de
           \  /        
  \\\______/  !        PGP-fp: 8F 61 EB 6D CF 23 CA D7  34 05 14 5C C8 DC 22 BA
   \          /         http://fatman.mathematik.tu-muenchen.de/~schwarz/

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