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

On Wed, Aug 12 2009, Josselin Mouette wrote:

> Hi,
> 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.

        No, that is wrong. The reason we put in the Standards version is
 to let the next developer know what to look for in the upgrading
 checklist in policy in order to bring the package up to date with policy

        This is no way implies that the package with an old standards
 version does not have to comply to latest policy. In other words, I
 can't just set Standards-Version to 0.0.0 and blithely ignore any
 policy -- the package would be buggy if it does not  follow the latest
 policy, regardless of the standards version.

> 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?

        This would be bad, since when someone looks at the package, they
 would not know easily what they have to look for to update the
 package. The Standards Version gives a pointer into the upgrading
 checklist, and that remains useful.

Insufficient facts always invite danger. Spock, "Space Seed", stardate
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>  
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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