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DEP-8 extension proposal: Add source package header

Hello all,

in Ubuntu we have started adding some autopkgtests to packages, using
the DEP-8 debian/tests/control standard [1]. We now also have a test
execution environment [2] which automatically triggers autopkgtest
runs for a package and all its reverse dependencies on each upload.
So far this is rather experimental.

The main problem that we are facing with this is that it is not easily
discoverable which source packages actually ship tests. Right now this
is a hardcoded list, which does not scale at all. Thus I would like to
propose to add a source package header, so that test execution
environments can find out packages with tests by merely scanning
Sources.gz (or iterating over the package dict with python-apt and the

What do you think about something like this? (Diff against [3])

--- dep8.mdwn.orig	2012-06-13 09:22:06.156404163 +0200
+++ dep8.mdwn	2012-06-13 09:36:34.564446191 +0200
@@ -30,6 +30,14 @@
 currently implemented by the
 [autopkgtest](http://packages.debian.org/sid/autopkgtest) package.
+# Source package header
+To allow test execution environments to discover packages which provide tests,
+their source packages should have a "Has-Autotests: true" header. This can
+be set manually in debian/control with adding "XS-Has-Autotests: true" in the
+"Source:" paragraph. Future versions of dpkg-source might add this
+automatically when a debian/tests/control file is present.

I don't particularly care about the name or value of the header, but
it's important to agree on one so that we can avoid having to change
lots of packages later on.

Once this is in the standard and proven to work, I'm happy to send a
patch against dpkg-source to add that header automatically.

Thank you,


[1] http://dep.debian.net/deps/dep8/
[2] https://jenkins.qa.ubuntu.com/view/Precise/view/AutoPkg%20Test/
[3] http://anonscm.debian.org/viewvc/dep/web/deps/dep8.mdwn?view=markup
Martin Pitt                        | http://www.piware.de
Ubuntu Developer (www.ubuntu.com)  | Debian Developer  (www.debian.org)

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