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Re: NEWS.Debian files

On Sat, Jul 06, 2002 at 09:13:51PM -0400, Joey Hess wrote:
> So we were talking at DebConf about the issue of overuse of debconf
> notes for warning the user of things like major changes on upgrades. One
> idea that gelled out is adding a NEWS.Debian file to supplement the
> README.Debian and changelog.Debian files.

> By analogy with the type of package that upstream has a very verbose and
> detailed changelog and then a NEWS file that gives a broad overview of
> important changes and points to additional information (wmaker for
> example), the NEWS.Debian file, which would not be updated with every
> release of the package would talk about things that you might be tempted
> today to misuse a debconf note for.

> Like the changelog.Debian (and unlike README.Debian, which would still
> be used to record more general debian-specific info), the NEWS.Debian
> would be in a machine parseable format, so tools like apt-listchanges
> could work out if a new news item is relevent and display it. A user
> might want to see both changelogs and NEWS, or just one.

> So like debconf notes that are displayed before the package is
> installed, the NEWS items could warn of incompatabilities, serious bugs,
> whatever. Unlike debconf notes, a user could turn the NEWS off, and
> could revisit it (or read it for the first time) after installation by
> reading the file. Debconf notes would remain for their intended purpose:
> notes about local installation errors, and so on.

It seems to me that this addresses the issues involved: giving
maintainers a way to inform users of important changes, while giving
users the freedom to disable these notifications.  As long as this
behavior is enabled by default, I think this is a wonderful idea.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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