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Re: Source package without a binary


On Thu, 2012-01-05 at 18:26:13 +0100, Joachim Breitner wrote:
> Theoretically, there is no interesting binary package produced from this
> source package and it seems that the policy does not explicitly require
> that a source package produces binary packages... but I am certain that
> this is an assumption buried deep within so many parts of our
> infrastructure that it is not a good idea to actually try this.

AFAIK the build daemons will not even try to build a source if their
architecture is not listed on that field in the .dsc file. To generate
this kind of package with an appropriate Architecture field, you
currently have (at least?) two options, both suboptimal:

* Every time you build the source you'd have to remember to override
  the Architecture field on the dpkg-source -b call with -D.
* Add a dummy binary package stanza in debian/control for the only
  purpose of making the Architecture value percolate to the .dsc file
  automatically, taking into account that the rules file has to ignore
  such stanza.

Another issue is how to track that the build succeeded and that it
does not have to be retried, if there's no binary and .changes files,
and as such no installed version on the archive.

> So the logical conclusion is to build a binary package from the source
> that contains nothing (or maybe a log of the test results) and clearly
> states in its description that there is no point in installing this
> binary package.

That's what I did for the last posixtestsuite 1.5.2-4 upload, and
while the “dummy” binary package might seem a bit worthless, it has
some advantages; it keeps the maintainer build log, something the buildd
network does not currently do, and it makes the test results, which in
a way could be considered different to build logs, available in an
easily installable form. The other advantage of not providing a
foo-source binary package is that the natural way of building binary
packages is from source packages not binary ones.


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