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Is tabular data in binary format acceptable for Debian ?

Dear all,

I would like to ask on this list a question I asked to the FTP team last
December, and for which I have not received answer yet.

Is tabular data in a binary format that can be read, written, modified and
exported using free software acceptable for Debian, or shall we contact the
upstream author to check if he used an intermediate format (be it text, or
binary like .odt or .xls) and require the addition of this file to the source,
or shall we provide a text export?

I ask because it was one of the reasons for rejecting the r-cran-epir

> * Also the data/*.Rdata files appear to be binary.  I don't know enough about
> them to make an iformed decision on if those can be built from source or if
> they are in their native format.

These files are tables stored as binary R objects. Using the GNU R program, one
can load, modify, display and save them, and export them to common formats such
as CSV. I tried to clarify the situation with the FTP team, but no answer seems
to come since my last email, on the 8th of January. http://bugs.debian.org/557199
I therefore submit the question to everybody's sagacity on Debian's main discussion

An important part of the problem is that other r-cran-* packages have similar
files, since they play a role in the documentation, as example data, and also
in regression tests.

I am currently holding my work on the r-cran-* packages on which I am uploader.
My personnal policy is to not upload anything if I am not sure it would not be
accepted as a new package.

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Debian Med packaging team,
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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