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Re: Proposal: Link to .changes file for each package on www.debian.org

On Wed, 18 Feb 1998, James A.Treacy wrote:

> > 	I believe that a worthwhile addition to www.debian.org would be a
> > link either to changelog or to .changes for each package in
> > www.debian.org/Packages.  This would make it amazingly simple for users
> > browsing our package database on the web to see what was changed in the
> > package they are looking at.  If the people responsible could reply we
> > could begin to debate this on debian-devel.
> > 
> This has been brought up many times. It will be implemented eventually.
> The problem is we need to rip open the packages to get at the changelogs
> and noone has implemented this yet. It's not difficult to do, but to keep
> down the load on master, it would be best to implement this in conjunction
> with dinstall and lintian when the packages are added to the distribution.


For all that don't know the details yet: Lintian unpacks all checked
packages in a big `laboratory' directory and collects some information
about the file contents (i.e., runs `file' over each file in the package).
After all required data has been collected, the unpacked package contents
are removed again to safe disk space, but the `collected' output stays.
With that, you can run a check multiple times over the same package
without having lintian to unpack the package again.

I have one big `laboratory' on my system where I produce the reports for
the lintian HTML pages. (If every has already been unpacked and collected
there, lintian takes only 4:30 hours on my P120 to check the whole
distribution!) My laboratory only needs 106 MB! (Note, that this includes
_all_ information that's necessary to check the whole distribution with
the current lintian checks!) 

The laboratory has been designed to make it very easy to write package
checks in simple languages (`shell scripts', for example) without having
to use the dpkg-deb all the time. For example, each binary package has its
own diretory in   $LAB/binary/<pkg>  and each script could access
$LAB/binary/<pkg>/index to check the package contents (the index file
contains the output of the `dpkg -c foo.deb' call).

Since we are already planning to install lintian on master, it would
indeed make much sense to have the whole lintian `lab' available all the
time. With each new package upload, the package's directory in the lab
will be updated by lintian and the package will be checked automatically.

This would have the advantage that other scripts (like that which produce
the packages web pages) could use lintian's lab to access the necessary
information (e.g., changelog files) without having to unpack packages
their own and without having to handle new packages uploads, etc.

In addition, we could install a cron job on master which could check the
whole distribution each day and update the web pages reports automatically
(though, I don't know we can afford the 4:30 hours on master). 



--          _,,     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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