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Re: Recent changes in dpkg

On Thu, 27 May 2010 09:12:24 +0200
Iustin Pop <iusty@k1024.org> wrote:

> Data packages are a good point, to which I reply: how will they take
> advantages of new compression formats?

No need - just because these are data packages doesn't mean they are
even tens of kilobytes in size. These are source packages, not data
binary packages split out from other compiled binaries. A new
compression format won't save more than a few bytes on a small data
package - why bother?

We cannot restrict ourselves to only the .deb files in Debian. There
are plenty of situations where the .deb format is used to package a
specific configuration tweak or a little snippet of data. In many
cases, the contents vary slightly across lots of different use cases,
so the source builds dozens of tiny data packages and the devices pick
and choose which configurations to support. Think along the lines of
xorg-xserver-video-* where you don't want -all, you want specific
devices to cherry-pick only the drivers that are needed for that
specific chipset. The packages themselves are tiny but there are a LOT
of them. You don't want to rebuild and reupload dozens and dozens
merely to add debian/source/format to every single one. You also cannot
allow every device to install every variant, even if you remove most
later, because of all the unwanted dependencies.

> > After Squeeze is released, I'll have half a dozen or more packages that
> > will be the same version in oldstable through to unstable and none of
> > those currently have any bugs or lintian warnings other than an
> > old/ancient standards version or similarly minor issues. None of those
> > would give any benefits *to users* by being "updated" with respect to
> > the packaging.
> To users? Probably not. But to fellow developers? Do those packages
> already have Vcs-* fields so that I can retrieve them easily with
> debcheckout? Do the patches already come in DEP-3 format, so that
> tracking where they originate is easy for automated tools?

Some have no VCS - they are downloaded from CPAN or are my own upstream,
I have the debian/ directory on my own systems and that's all that's
needed. There are no patches (especially when I am upstream).

There really are packages out there which are so simple and trivial to
package that the enhancements in Debian packaging methods since Etch
have no benefit to anyone, including other DD's.

Again, this is also applicable to uses of .deb outside Debian where
thinks like VCS- and DEP3 are meaningless, even lintian is ignored.

Emdebian automatically drops all VCS- fields, indeed all debian/control
fields which are absolutely mandatory to get the package accepted into
a random reprepro archive.

We cannot go around assuming that everyone using dpkg is only using it
within the confines of Debian Policy, let alone "Debian Best Practice".

Why do we assume that every package should automatically use the latest
whizz-bang-feature merely because that feature exists? Some packages do
not need a VCS of any kind and some never need patches or even
debhelper >> 5.

.deb is a useful format in it's own right - Debian should not make
changes that undermine the usefulness of .deb outside Debian, if only
because it undermines the maintenance of some packages within Debian
where packaging life really is that simple.

> I agree that we don't *have* to update the packages. All I'm saying, to
> me it seems that the world of packaging standards is not sitting, and
> not doing an update once per release seems a bit (just a bit) strange to
> me.

Not to me. One release to last from oldstable to unstable is actually
very appealing, for packages where life is sufficiently simple. One
day, I might even get a package where it gets into oldstable at the
very first upload.

> But I understand your point, and I'm not saying it is a wrong point.
> Just trying to express why I believe doing a rebuild per release helps
> more than hurts.

I think you're seeing complexity where none exists. I have some very
simple packages and I like them like that. :-)

Changing the packaging merely because the maintainer is "bored" of
using debhelper 5 etc. is just sad.

(I remember someone in the Debian release team - at the time, no names
but he knows who he is - saying that DD's should consider every upload
to unstable to be the version that will get into stable.)


Neil Williams

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