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Re: New field in binary stanza

On Mon, Dec 24, 2007 at 06:52:12PM +0100, David Paleino wrote:
> First of all, thank you for the kind reply. It seemed like the
> Christmas spirit has been blown away from this list.

Thank you for noticing, I still hope that exchanges like this have the
power of improving in the long run the debate quality on -devel.

> Well, my proposal was for an optional field: who wants it, uses it.

Well, what's for then?

Additional informative fields which are targeted to users (like for
example the Homepage one) are indeed useful if present and do no harm
elsewhere, but if this is assumed as developer targeted than (IMO of
course) you really have the need of precise information which can't be
grasped in the general case by such a field.

> Anyway, I'm seeing that what I'm telling now has already been proposed
> for debian/copyright. The problem is still there though: the chance to
> see some information about the license of not installed packages not
> being connected to the Internet.

Yup, got it, but I'm convinved this can be solved stepwise. The first
(big!) step is to get the new debian/copyright format widespread in the
archive.  (I'm convinced that that won't happen until we have tools to
process it, that's why on my personal todo list there is a parser for
the format to be integrated into python-debian, but time is always
lacking ...)

Once we have that I'm convinced it won't be feasible to have the
information embedded in the apt-cache, for the reasons of size bloat
expressed by other.

Nevertheless, we can imagine having for example a daily updated big
tarball of debian/copyrights generated on the mirrors, and then a patch
for aptitude which downloads it if requested and than implements the
ability to show it to the users. The technical details are not important
at this point, since first we need to spread the usage of the new

Notice that in the simple cases (i.e. GPL only package) the
debian/copyright won't be much more complicated than the field you
propose; it will simply have a catch-all glob pattern "*" pointing to
the GPL.

> That might be an alternative. Is there any progress on the
> CopyrightFormat proposal? I can't find anything on the wiki.

None yet, and it's hardly possible to make stats until we have at least
a parser for the new format. Once we have that once can imagine setting
up a statistics page showing how many packages in the archive are using
such a format, but not before.


Stefano Zacchiroli -*- PhD in Computer Science ............... now what?
zack@{cs.unibo.it,debian.org,bononia.it} -%- http://www.bononia.it/zack/
(15:56:48)  Zack: e la demo dema ?    /\    All one has to do is hit the
(15:57:15)  Bac: no, la demo scema    \/    right keys at the right time

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