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Re: What’s the use for Standards-Version?

Josselin Mouette wrote:

the question in the subject may sound a bit naive, but I’m starting to
wonder why we still set the Standards-Version in package control files.

AIUI, this header is here to indicate which version of the policy the
package is supposed to conform to. This way, we have a way to enforce
which policy versions are supported, e.g. in a stable release, by
forbidding the too old versions.

However I think this approach doesn’t fit the current way we deal with
policy changes. The de facto way of dealing with policy breakages
currently is to directly report serious bugs against packages not
conforming, regardless of the Standards-Version they declare. We will
even often NMU them without changing the Standards-Version, while having
actually fixed them to conform to newer versions.

Currently I don’t think this header reflects anything useful in a vast
majority of our packages. I’m spending more time updating the header
than actually updating old packages to conform to policy changes.

What would you think of deprecating this header?

I find convenient to see what I should check, because of policy upgrades.
[ /usr/share/doc/debian-policy/upgrading-checklist.txt.gz ]

Not always I've time to check/update the package to the new policy (e.g.
when correcting a single bug), so the upload date is not sufficient, and
doing a complete/deep check is time intensive. Further I cannot trust
lintian or bug reports for policy compliance.

PS: I'm also not sure that lintian could do these check automatically.


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