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changelogs again (libc6 this time)


 libc6 2.2.3-7's changelog reads in part:

 :  * CVS as of 7-9-2001, closes: 101308, 103251, 100398, 100398
 :  * Increased shlibdep to 2.2.3-7

 this is a non-trivial change.  Keeping Debian interoperable at the
 binary level with other distributions is already difficult as it is[0],
 the minimum I'd expect is at least being able to know *why*.  No, 'CVS
 as of 7-9-2001' is not enough.  Do you *know* *for sure* that there's
 an incompatible change between 2.2.3-6 and 2.2.3-7?  Between 2.2.3-7
 and whatever the previous shlibs file used?  (which I *doubt* was
 2.2.1-1, the other entry in the changelog that documents a version
 change in the shlibs file)  If you *know* that, please take the time to
 document it.  If you are just guessing, please take the time to confirm
 your guess.

 And by "you" I don't mean "Ben", I mean, you, the one reading this
 message.  There's a number of packages notorious for having shlib files
 with versioned dependencies that a) aren't documented and b) are
 suspicious, to put it mildly.  These are libraries that implement well
 stablished APIs and that also happen to have stable ABIs.  Yes,
 sometimes upstream fscks up and neglects to change a SONAME in cases
 where it must be changed.  Yes, sometimes upstream tries to keep
 backward compatibility but doesn't give a damn about forward
 compatibility.  Yes, versioned dependecies in shlib files are ok in
 these situations.  This doesn't free you, the maintainer, from
 documenting why.

 Take this as a plea for better internal documentation of our
 distribution.  If you don't have time to document important changes,
 *please* postpone your upload.  You don't have to upload it today.

 Have fun,


[0] I'm not happy to say this, but it is my experience: stuff a little
    more complex than "Hello, World!" just won't run on recent releases
    of other distributions (RedHat 7.2 and SuSE 7.0 is what I know first
    hand), and don't even mention the latest release of our own
    distribution.  I find myself in the really embarrasing position of
    not being able to recommend current or almost current (read:
    unstable and testing) Debian as a development environment, *even* if
    that's what I use for my day to day work and being convinced it *is*
    a better development environment.

Marcelo             | Until an unfortunate axe incident, Gloria had been
mmagallo@debian.org | captain of the school basketball team.
                    |         -- (Terry Pratchett, Soul Music)

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