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Re: NEWS.Debian revisited

Hmm, I thought I had sent this off already, but here it was in my postponed

On Thu, Sep 12, 2002 at 12:04:12PM -0400, Joey Hess wrote:

> Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > My reasons for arguing were basically these:
> > 
> > - by having all of the information in one place, folks who are reading the
> >   changelog also get the benefit of the NEWS stuff, which is often
> >   useful in a changelog context as well
> OTOH if I'm already reading a package's changelog file, I have probably
> exhausted most other documentation, including README.Debian and
> NEWS.Debian if present. Unless I'm reading it during upgrade of course.

I read changelogs for many reasons, not the least of which to determine why
something broke, when something was introduced, etc.  In many of these
situations, I want both changelog information and news information, and I
want them to be tied together in chronological order, so that I can
associate a behavioural change or such (documented in a news item) with its
implementation (in changelog).

This is, of course, just a presentation issue, but I think that there is a
lot of value in having a storage format which is both easy to scan and
relatively easy to parse, like the current changelog, rather than merging
two sources of information.

Another advantage is that maintainers continue to only need to work with the
changelog.  Since many of our maintainers can't even be bothered to write
useful changelog entries half of the time, I am a little concerned that they
won't be bothered to maintain a separate news file either.

> > > 1. Display only news items, no changelogs.
> > > 
> > > 2. Display changelogs and news items
> > >    a. List all the new news first, at the top.
> > >    b. List new news right before a package's changelog entry.
> > > [...]
> > 
> > I agree re: option 1; that would be a sane configuration default.
> If you agree with that, then implementing that with a merged changelog
> would require some considerable munging/grepping of the changelog, would
> it not?

It would be pretty simple to pick out the news items from a combined
changelog like the example that I posted earlier.  I would not mind
implementing that at all.

> > Option 2b works out to pretty much exactly the combined news/changelog
> > format that I had in mind.  I don't like 2a very much because it spreads
> > out the information about a single package, such that I would have to
> > navigate around the output in order to correlate the news with the
> > changelog.
> OTOH, I really like 2a, as I don't always make it to the end of
> apt-listchanges output during a large upgrade.

I guess it wouldn't be so bad for browser users if I added hyperlinks
between news/changelog for each package, but I think it would spoil the

Of course, if I were already merging two files, I suppose I could merge them
a couple of different ways.

 - mdz

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