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NEWS.Debian support is here



Thanks to Matt Zimmerman and Joe Drew, apt-listchanges will now display
NEWS.Debian entries for upgraded packages. They're displayed before the
regular changelog entries, and Matt plans to later let it be configured
to only display news, if the user wants (more useful for stable users).

The NEWS.Debian file is installed as
/usr/share/doc/<package>/NEWS.Debian.gz. Always compressed, always with
that name even in native packages. If you use debhelper, upgrade to
4.1.51 and dh_installchangelogs will install debian/NEWS files for you[1].

The file format is the same as a debian changelog file, but we leave off the
asterisks generally, and use bigger paragraphs explaining news items when
necessary. It might be a good idea to run your file through
dpkg-parsechangelog to check its formatting as it will not be automatically
checked during build as the changelog is. I expect there will be a lintian
check eventually. Here's a real life example of a NEWS.Debian file:

libinline-perl (0.43-5) unstable; urgency=low

  Note that when you upgrade from perl 5.6 to 5.8, binaries built with
  libinline (this may include compiled objects cached in .Inline/_Inline
  directories) will fail to work with the new version of perl. This is
  because perl's ABI for binaries changed between perl 5.6 and 5.8.

  The solution is the delete and regenerate any such binaries you might have.
  I have not tried to automate this in the Debian package.

 -- Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org>  Wed, 11 Sep 2002 21:37:56 -0400

Unlike changelog files, you don't update NEWS.Debian files with every
release. Only update them if you have something particularly newsworthy
that user should know about.

I'm putting off getting this into policy until enough stuff uses it that we
can tell it works well. But as of today it's a valid way to communicate
important changes to the users of your package.

-- 
see shy jo

[1] Actually, debhelper has supported this for a long time already, but it
    got the file name wrong for native packages.

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