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Re: DEP-5: removed files

Le Mon, Dec 07, 2009 at 12:26:52AM -0800, Steve Langasek a écrit :
> On Wed, Dec 02, 2009 at 03:56:51PM +0100, Thibaut Paumard wrote:
> > I remember that debian/copyright should not only list where the
> > source was downloaded from, but also the files which were removed by
> > the packager and the motivation for the removal (DFSG, patents,
> > large convenience copy of a library...). At least, that's how I
> > interpret this (from [1], I cannot find an excerpt from policy):
> > "3) Include a description of how you obtained the upstream source
> > tarball. This should be sufficient for anybody to duplicate the
> > process immediately, but don't worry too much if it isn't (eg, the
> > server is not public or no longer accessible)."
> This is not a requirement of Debian Policy; there are two other ways that
> Policy already recommends communicating this information:
>  - in the debian/README.source file
>  - by way of a get-orig-source target in debian/rules
> Providing the same information in debian/copyright would be redundant, and
> should be avoided.
> Given that Policy says to put this elsewhere than debian/copyright, I don't
> think it makes sense for DEP-5 to specify such sections; this is probably
> better addressed by including support for free-form comments, as suggested
> elsewhere.

Dear Thibaut and Steve,

Given that the purpose of DEP-5 is to make information available to machines,
my feeling is also that there is no need for a new field, unless there is a
commitemnt to parse the license information about removed files in a
programmatic way.

While duplication of information should be avoided, there are still a couple of
justifications why the license of removed files could be summarised. First,
most get-orig-source targets in debian/rules let the removed files transit on
the user's machine. Similarly, some VCS that are available through
‘debcheckout’ also contain a copy of the removed files in their upstream
branch. For these cases, I think that debian/copyright is a relevant place to
declare the license of the removed files, since they may actually be really

In addition to free-form comments, my understanding of DEP-5 is that it is open
in the similar way as mail headers. Therefore a group of people, for instance a
packaging team, can federate on a more formal representation than free-form
comments if they like. I would therefore recommend to Thibaut to experiment a
bit on different possible implementations if free-form comments are not enough.
If there is interest I can contribute ideas: I was actually trying to draft a
similar enhancement last September.

By the way, there was an interesting discussion in bugs.debian.org/521810 a
couple of monthes ago, which ended on the conclusion that adding a “X-” prefix
on extra fields in Debian control files does not bring much benefit. I propose
to apply this to DEP-5:

  ### Extra fields.
  Extra fields can be added to any section. It is not recommended to prefix their
  name by **`X-`**.

I hope it can contribute to ease experimentation.

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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