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Re: About new source formats for packages without patches



On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 21:42:59 +0100
Raphael Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org> wrote:

> On Thu, 25 Mar 2010, Neil Williams wrote:
> > Agreed, although I think the real bug is in dpkg not being able to
> > cope without a new file. 
> 
> In what way dpkg doesn't cope?

I'm not sure, I got that impression - otherwise why do existing
packages need to be changed?

I concur with Wouter's comment in the bug report you mentioned earlier:
#557459 (comment #10)

"I believe dpkg-source should work in a similar way: if there is no
debian/source/format file, dpkg-source should not try anything beyond
1.0 level formats."

That would be the best behaviour IMHO.

What was the reason for requiring a file in source 1.0 ? The bug report
doesn't indicate any reason for that step. Absence of the file is
sufficient to determine that only methods from format 1.0 should be
attempted. If the user specifies something different, dpkg should
report that as a user error and possibly continue to operate in the
normal 1.0 manner.

Again from Wouter's comments:
"It is of course perfectly fine for dpkg-source to error out if it
detects that things are not completely in order, or if it detects that
features were requested that are not supported with the source format
that is in use. But it should not silently assume another format is
probably to be used if things are not entirely what they should have
been."

The absence of debian/source/format means 1.0 and dpkg should not
assert anything else or behave as if it really is 3.0 or something
else. No file means format 1.0 and format 1.0 means never having the
file. That's the simplicity that I like.

The issue with confusion from 3.0 is real and 3.0 formats should be
uniquely identifiable. That's good and sensible. 

1.0 is not in that group. If dpkg has problems with that situation, it
would be a bug in dpkg and nothing to do with preventative measures in
lintian.

> The change requested by the lintian tag is preventive, not corrective.

So what bug is to be prevented?

What is the problem with format 1.0 packages not having
debian/source/format ? Is there a reproducible error that can be tested
(and fixed) or is it hand-waving about possible fears and regrets about
not having something like this when 1.0 was first designed? (In other
words, is it a bug or FUD.)

Lintian is not about dealing with bugs in other packages, neither
should it be abused as an engine of FUD.

> > The idea that all source packages are going to have to be re-uploaded
> > with a single 6 byte file is crazy. There will inevitably be hundreds,
> > if not thousands, of source format 1.0 packages in the archive for many
> > releases to come - most undeclared. For dpkg maintainers to think
> > otherwise is hopelessly optimistic. There's no RC stick pushing this
> > change.
> 
> And? What's the problem if it takes several releases to get to the point
> where all package are explicit about the desired source format?

You must have some idea of how much work that entails? Maintainers
shouldn't be pushed through unnecessary work merely to cope with
hand-waving about possible problems that we haven't clarified yet and
behind which is an obvious lack of consensus. I have no idea what
this change is trying to prevent and nobody so far has spelt out what
happens if dpkg is forced to treat all packages omitting
debian/source/format as source format 1.0. Is it a problem? What are we
trying to fix here? It seems obvious that dpkg will have to deal with
lots and lots of packages without debian/source/format for quite some
time to come and that it will never be quite possible to retire source
format 1.0.

Packages without debian/source/format ARE explicit about the desired
source format - 1.0 as defined by how 1.0 has always worked. Maybe that
is a flaw in the original design of 1.0 but that is not something that
can be fixed retrospectively. Live with it and carry on.

The new lintian tag could be reversed to advise against
debian/source/format UNLESS the file contains one of the 3.0 recognised
strings. Then the mere presence or absence of the file is
deterministic and a fraction of the total number of packages need
changing. 

> > debian/source/format, I'll override the lintian warning until dpkg is
> > fixed. (Already done that for a few packages.)
> 
> Doing that means “I don't want to hardcode the format to use, I want to
> use whatever the dpkg maintainers feel best as default”.
> 
> It's not really what you want I think.

I did say until dpkg is fixed. I think the fix in dpkg needs to be that
the lack of debian/source/format uniquely identifies source format 1.0
and that only source format 3.0 (and later) may use this file. Anything
else would be a bug in the package and lintian would clearly be correct
in asserting this as a definite error in the packaging. Any
misbehaviour by dpkg upon the lack of debian/source/format is a bug in dpkg. Lintian won't save us from that.

-- 


Neil Williams
=============
http://www.data-freedom.org/
http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/
http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/

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