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Bug#677474: Substvars for Build-Depends in the .dsc file

Package: dpkg-dev
Severity: wishlist
X-Debbugs-CC: debian-devel@lists.debian.org

Dear developers,

currently a Debian source package specifies its build dependencies in
debian/control; this information gets copied by dpkg-source to the .dsc
file. From there it reaches the Source file which is taken into account
by our infrastructure, e.g. the build daemons and tools like apt-get
build-dep. Therefore, the data in .dsc is the effective copy. 

I would like to see more flexibility in dpkg-source as to where the
effective build depends come from. My use case are (as you might guess)
Haskell packages. If you look at 
you see it has a very long list of build dependencies. If you’d compare
that to
you’d see that the process of creating the build dependencies is a
mostly mechanical process and doing that manually is a waste of human
developer time and a source for mistakes (which lead to FTBFSes and
hence more waste in buildd and buildd admin time).

For binary dependencies, thia issue is solved already: Using substvars
we leave it to the build process to figure out the correct dependencies.
This has worked great so far. I would like to be able to do the same for
build dependencies.

Here is my suggestion: dpkg-source already supports substvars. What
needs to be added:
      * A dpkg-source option to enable all this, say
        --enable-control-substvars (meant to go to
      * A way to pass the -T option to dpkg-source in
        debian/source/options (currently not possible, although this is
        not clearly documented)
      * When --enable-control-substvars option is enabled, dpkg-source
        will call "debian/rules source-substvars" after "debian/rules
        clean" and after creating the debian.tar.gz files, but before
        creating the .dsc file¹
      * When creating the .dsc file, substvars specified in the file
        specified in -T may be used in Build-Depends and related fields.

One downside is that dpkg-source cannot check the build dependencies
completely when calling debian/source clean, as it does now, but can
only check those that are given directly in debian/rules; at this stage
it should just ignore any substvars.



¹ Why at this stage? Calculating the precise build dependencies might
involve building the package. Doing it here allows this build to also be
used for creating the binaries, when doing a regular dpkg-buildpackage

Joachim "nomeata" Breitner
Debian Developer
  nomeata@debian.org | ICQ# 74513189 | GPG-Keyid: 4743206C
  JID: nomeata@joachim-breitner.de | http://people.debian.org/~nomeata

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