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

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.
> 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'd be in favour of making it optional or deprecating it if we (as in the
project) were good in adding checks to lintian for changes in the policy or
reporting bugs where it's not possible (or in addition to the checks). Then,
checking upgrade-checklist wouldn't be necessary, and S-V wouldn't have any
sense (at least to me as I use it to check upgrade-checklist since the version
specified in S-V).

Also checking upgrade-checklist is time consuming, usually for no benefit (we
all see those "Update Standards-Version, no changes needed"). So right now it's
like if I was lintian and had to run those checks manually. So moving them from
upgrade-checklist to lintian itself, or to the bts would be very welcome.


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