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Re: quilt 3.0 source format and dpkg-source/dpkg-buildpackage

Peter Samuelson <peter@p12n.org> writes:

> Presumably dpkg maintainers.  I've long suspected that the main reason
> they chose not to add tar.bz2 to format 1.0 is, if they did, a lot of
> us would have no reason to want format 3.0.  Many packagers don't need
> multiple tarballs or non-text files, and are quite happy to 'include
> /usr/share/quilt/quilt.make' by hand.  We don't find it hard to extract
> an NMU diff even if it wasn't posted to the bug as it should be.  It's
> hard enough to convince us to want 3.0 even with tar.bz2 support.

I don't think this is entirely fair.  The 3.0 format was designed to solve
a bunch of problems that had all gotten a lot of discussion on the mailing
lists.  bzip2 (and LZMA, and now probably XZ) support is only one of them.

The dpkg maintainers were hearing from the project that various people
wanted solutions to all of the following problems:

* Support for other compression methods.
* Multiple upstream source tarballs.
* Apply patches so that dpkg-source -x gives buildable source.
* Ship debian/* as a tarball instead of a patch.
* Allow binaries in the debian directory.
* Allow modified binaries in the upstream source.
* Standardize a patch format so that NMUers don't need to know so many.

All of those problems were rather heavily discussed in -devel, -policy,
-dpkg, DebConf, and various other places.  At the time that the design was
done, there was both existing wig & pen work to incorporate and there was
a general move in the project towards using quilt as the patch system of
choice.  Lots and lots of packages were being converted to it at the time,
and of the available options, it was probably the best balance of
features, simplicity, and number of active users.  It also had the
advantage of not being a Debian-specific tool.

The 3.0 source format does solve all of those problems.  I think it may be
fair to argue that it suffers from some degree of second-system syndrome,
but that's an inherent risk in this sort of work.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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