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Re: Proposing a new source control header to link to upstream BTSs

On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 02:38:19AM -0300, Martín Ferrari wrote:
> Following the trend to add metadata to the debian/control file that
> allows for the creation of new and powerful tools, I thought about the
> usefulness of a header that'd allow to automatically relate to
> upstream bug trackers.

I don't really like that idea, for reasons I state below.  I first
misread it as "upstream VCS", which I do like. :-)  I'm happy with the
current VCS fields, but it's a pity that it's not possible to fetch
upstream's VCS source automatically.

> It could be used to automatically forward bugs,

I don't think bugs should be forwarded automatically.

> track which bugs are open that we don't know about today,

This would indeed be useful, but if automated tools should be using it
(like DEHS), a lot of work is needed to parse all those bug systems.  If
there's a prospect that this work will be done in the near future, then
I agree that the fields would be useful.

> and simply to avoid the need to look up manually where should one
> submit a bug.

This is the main reason I dislike the idea.  Users shouldn't need to
submit bugs upstream.  They use Debian, they submit bugs to Debian, and
if Debian (by means of the maintainer) thinks it's an upstream issue,
Debian forwards it to them.

This means users don't have to put up with registering and learning to
use many different bug tracking systems, for example.

I think this is important, and would like to have it written down in a
somewhat formal way.  I hope we can all agree on it that Debian accepts
all bug reports, and will forward them upstream if that is what should
be done.  A user should never hear "that's an upstream issue, please
report it to them".

Given this position, you probably understand that I don't think
providing a link to the upstream BTS is very useful for the users.

> This could easily support systems where submission is by email. And if
> there's no bug tracking system, the upstream maintainer email could be
> used, without adding the -Browser header.
> What do you think of this?

It may be interesting information in case the maintainer goes MIA, or
something.  Most of the time, Homepage should be enough to find it out,
though.  If not, I think it would be good practise to write it in the
package somewhere, but I don't think the control file is a good place
for it.  Especially given the very minimal amount of packages where
Homepage doesn't provide the information (and for those cases, upstream
is probably dead, so there isn't really anything useful to say either).


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