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Re: QUESTION: Debian Policy: Manual pages

* Ian Jackson <ian@davenant.greenend.org.uk> [080224 09:18]:
> Bas Zoetekouw writes ("Re: QUESTION: Debian Policy: Manual pages"):
> > Why a recommends?  In order to satisfy the spirit of policy ("every
> > binary must have a man page") it would need to be a depends, imo.
> I think the point of policy is to ensure the manpage exists, not to
> require that it be installed.
> I think Suggests is the right dependency.  There is nothing wrong with
> installing a package without its documentation.
> Ian.

IANADD, but as a user, I disagree.  Policy [12.1] states:

  Each program, utility, and function should have an associated manual
  page included in the same package.

There is a big difference between a man page and more complete
documentation like a User Manual.

I _expect_ a man page for every executable.  A Depends, in my mind,
clearly satisfies the policy requirement, as the man page will be
available unless I use dpkg --force-* or some other drastic measure to
override the depends.  A Recommends may satisfy this (especially now
that apt defaults to installing them), but not quite as clearly.

Harshula, from your description it is not clear if c.tar.gz contains
substantial documentation beyond man pages.  If c.tar.gz contains very
little besides man pages and basic documentation, then Depend on c.deb,
and leave the man pages there.  If the tarball contains a lot of other
documentation, my preference as a user would be to have the man pages
moved into the binary a.deb and b.deb packages, and Recommend or Suggest
c.deb (without the man pages).

If you are making one source package with three binary packages, moving
the man pages to a different binary package is trivial.  If you are
making three separate source packages, I would still prefer to have the
man pages copied to the packages with their corresponding executable,
with a note in the README.Debian identifying the originating tarball.

I know this is more work (in the separate source package case), but as a
user I would appreciate not having to keep around a large documentation
package just to get man pages.


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