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Re: CDBS and dh_install


Christian Perrier <bubulle@debian.org> writes:

> I tend to agree.

I tend to agree too, every maintainer should be encouraged to understand
the packaging tools he is using. These tools are made to solve _common_
situations, so you have to understand what automatic mechanisms are
involved, and sometimes their behavior must be changed or a specific
rule written, so you need enought knowledge to write rules yourself

> I think it's important for new maintainers to understand how their
> packages are built. For this, the very classical approach of
> debian/rules with debhelper commands is a good compromise between
> readability and accessibility.

This is a good exercice, as packaging a medium difficulty package
without debhelper is a good NM excercice.

> On the other hand, the constant changes and new neat features
> introduced in Debian (new debhelper commands, new ways to handle
> stuff, etc) is a big challenge for maintainers to cope with (in short,
> I bet that mostly noone except the debhelper maintainer is really
> aware of all debhelper nice features....).

Yep, and you can't ask a NM to deeply understand the insides of each
tools. But it must be aware of what it realy does. So i do agree to your
statement that the CDBS documentation has room for improvement.

> Using cdbs is indeed a very convenient way to be sure that packages
> use a kind of common build method, which allows major build design
> changes without big communication to developers. Of course, this
> assumes that cdbs is kept up-to-date with recent evolutions of the
> Debian packages build process and new neat features in debhelper.

It was not up-to-date for a long time, since Jeff Bailey moved to Ubuntu
has clearly has no remaining time for any Debian work. Peter Eisentraut
came hijacking the package and did a quite good job, so the package is
in a better state now. But this raise another related subject: such an
important package should be comaintained. Peter refused any cooperation,
uploaded new versions while i proposed to review his changes with
another developper, and finally any big mistake occured (#365085 fixed
by NMU). The CDBS Team does no more exist and Peter is the only one
working on it and refusing any help, that's a very bad situation.

For the documentation issue, CDBS only contained one or two files with
obsolete and not-understandable examples, which are now removed from the
package. When i came to CDBS i was moaning loudly about missing
documentation (GNOME Team people are witnesses), so i finaly decided to
write one. Jeff accepted me as being officially in charge of the
documentation, so i introduced it in July 2005. Peter decided to rework
it without any notice and then forked it because he refused to work with
me. He changed the tone of parts of the document, did some cosmetic
changes, but still his latest changes to the software remains
undocumented. I'm still maintaining the original documentation (which is
outside the alioth project because i never had any svn access, Jeff was
too busy). I also started translating in french (someone provided an
unfinished Brezilian translation a long while ago, but was later
unresponsive, so it is quite outdated now) using po4a.

So, i'm still willing to work on this documentation, but since Peter
does not want to deal with me, i'm stuck ; this has to be solved before
any major rewrite. Now that people are *really* interested in having a
better documentation, i would be happy to get help from bubule or anyone
with knowledge on CDBS and translations.

The original documentation can be found here:
(sources are in the 'cdbs-doc/' directory)

Marc Dequènes (Duck)

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