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Re: Bug#671503: general: APT repository format is not documented

Michal Suchanek writes ("Re: Bug#671503: general: APT repository format is not documented"):
> Excerpts from Filipus Klutiero's message of Wed May 16 18:44:21 +0200 2012:
> > Could you clarify how this differs from #481129?
> It's 4 years later.
> Sorry, forgot that I filed the bug already. It's quite some time.
> Given there is no feedback in 4 years I guess it is futile reporting
> this.

Well, it's useful to bring it up again.

> Admittedly there is no text in social contract about using
> Debian-proprietary formats. And a format only defined by "apt can read
> that" is definitely Debian-proprietary there is no better term for that.

Everyone agrees that it would be better if this were documented.
(I have struggled on occasion myself due to the lack of

But I think the use of the word "proprietary" is going too far.  It's
certainly a special Debian format, but that wouldn't be changed if it
were documented.  But it's not secret and we publish at least two
writer implementations and one reader implementation AFAIK, with
proper Free licences.

> I'd say it's slightly discriminatory against software not part of Debian
> that cannot rely on getting notified when "apt can read that" silently
> changes, there is no document defining what apt should be able to read
> that software authors can rely on to interoperate with apt, one of the
> core Debian tools. Apt in turn relies on open standards like HTTP and
> FTP to interoperate with the rest of the world.

I think this is not an appropriate use of the social contract or its

Rather than complaining that this documentation doesn't exist, how
about writing the document yourself ?  It's not a trivial job but it
should be feasible by looking at the apt source code.

Once such a document exists, even if it's a bit sketchy or perhaps not
entirely accurate, it will be much easier to insist that future
changes are likewise documented.


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