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Proper way of closing *old* bugs

Hello everyone,

I've written an email to Cyril Bouthors that started as,

"In your 4.0.0-3 upload of gluplot, you've said in the changelog

 * This upload is aimed to take over the package and fix the easiest bugs
   first. I'll upload another version shortly that will take care of the
   oh-so-many opened bugs that look almost all fixed upstream and/or
   obsolete to me. One of them is 5 years and 160 days old! "Release
   early, release often".

The rest of the email and his response follows,

Cyril Bouthors wrote:
> On  3 Apr 2006, Adam Majer wrote:
>> But the correct method of closing bugs is to send a message to
>> nnnn-done@bugs.debian.org with the explanation of the fix and not in
>> the changelog. Well, at least not in the way you seem to intend. The
>> bugs closed in changelogs are suppose to be bugs closed due to the
>> changes from the previous version to the current version. If you only
>> mean to do,
>> * Close bugs that were fixed VERY long time ago (closes:
>> #123,#234,#345,#456,#567,#678,#789,....)
>> then I don't think that is appropriate use of the changelog.
> Closing bugs through the changelog is an officially supported method
> and most DDs close bugs that way. Submitters receive a detailed
> notification by email as soon as the package is uploaded.
> I have no special mean to close bugs without informing the submitters
> with a clear and detailed explanation as I always did with all my
> packages.

My question is, is it now appropriate to use the changelog as a crutch
to close bugs that have nothing to do with the upload? I was always
under impression that *old* bugs should be closed by sending an email to
nnnn-done@bugs.debian.org saying that you are closing it because it was
fixed some time ago, etc.. etc..

The policy [1] states,

    "If this upload resolves bugs recorded in the Bug Tracking System
(BTS), they may be automatically closed on the inclusion of this package
into the Debian archive by including the string: closes: Bug#nnnnn in
the change details."

Therefore, by my reading of the policy the changelog is not an
appropriate method of closing *old* bugs because they were not resolved
by the upload. They were resolved some time ago and should be closed by
a mail to the BTS.

- Adam

[1] http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-source.html#s-dpkgchangelog

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