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Re: About repackaging of the ‘orig’ tarball.

Hi Charles,

Charles Plessy wrote:
> Le Tue, Dec 08, 2009 at 05:36:54PM +0100, Damien Raude-Morvan a écrit :

>> As a general guideline, generated files should be stripped from "original"
>> source tarballs.
> I personnally tend to prefer to keep the Debian ‘orig’ tarball identical to the
> upstream tarball as much as it is possible, so that by its MD5 sum it is
> obvious that it is pristine.

Thank you for bringing this up.  I am not an ftpmaster, but maybe it
would be helpful to mention some other reasons to keep the
.orig.tar.gz pristine.

By distributing the pristine source, we provide a service to the free
software community outside of Debian.  When upstreams silently
disappear, distros take over as the main distribution point for their
software.  Similarly, sometimes the only place to find an older
version of a package is in the various distros’ archives.

Having to repack makes trouble for people trying to help package a new
upstream version.  A nice repacking script can help, but not by much.
Any potential contributer still has to figure out how it works and
make sure everything goes to plan.  Ignoring the files or deleting
them in the 'clean' target is much simpler.

Often, files the buildds do not use can be helpful for other users.
Configure scripts, source files generated by bison or web, and
processed documentation often fall into this category.  Patent-
encumbered code can sometimes, too.

On the other hand, some files in the upstream tarball really may be
useless for everybody.  This should be fixed upstream!  Having to
maintain a repacking script over several releases to work around
such a simple problem is really not a good sign for a packager
maintainer’s relationship with upstream.

The second reason above is most important to me: it is really
unpleasant to fight against repacking scripts.  If the terms of
redistribution make this trouble necessary, I grumble and bear it.
The rest of the time, I would like to avoid it.

Just my 2 cents.


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