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Re: Feedback on 3.0 source format problems

gregor herrmann <gregoa@debian.org> writes:

> Personally I have the feeling that lots of these discussions and also
> the creation of new tools (git-dpm, git-pq, git-debcherry, dgit) are
> just workarounds for the actual problem: Many of us would like to work
> in and with git but the whole infrastructure still revolves around
> tarballs and additions/patches to them; and therefore we're creating
> even more sophisticated tools to translate between those two worlds
> which try hard to first get the "old" world into a git-centric workflow
> and then try hard to get the work out again, in a way that can later be
> used again from "within". -- I know we won't get this in 2017, but
> still: I'd like to be a source package a git repo on
> $whatever.debian.org, and an upload to be a git push of a signed tag to
> the ftp-master remote. </vision>

I think this is partly true, but I think there's still a part of this that
is still an issue even if we had a pure Git world, namely how to represent
the changes Debian is making to the upstream package in a clean way.

Even if we never used tarballs, and instead our unit of operation was the
upstream Git repository plus Debian branches, I would maintain a rebased
branch of Debian changes to upstream because I think this is dramatically
more useful than a merged branch with interleaved changes (including later
revisions to earlier diffs and resolutions of merge conflicts).  This
isn't a theoretical position -- I've tried about five or six different
ways of handling this, with very complex packages and lots of local
changes and with simple packages with just a few changes and have had bad
experiences with many of the solutions people propose.

This is actually, in a way, *harder* if we were using pure Git, since if I
have a rebased branch of Debian changes on top of upstream, and I need a
place to integrate that with Debian packaging, what does that
debian/master branch look like?  I don't really want it to be a constantly
rebased branch; I want it to be a conventional branch.  But I want to keep
merging the changes against upstream into it (but not maintain them on
that branch, only maintain the Debian packaging files on that branch).

It's surprisingly awkward, and, at least for me, it turns out that
externalizing my rebased branch as a patch series solves many of these
problems surprisingly well.  All the other solutions I can think of
require one or more things I don't really want to do: rebase the
debian/master branch, not be able to run dpkg-buildpackage from the
debian/master branch easily, or require that dpkg-buildpackage do much
more mucking about with source control than I want it to.  The cost of
this is storing diffs of patches in the debian branch as (rather useless)
commits, which I don't like and would rather not do, but all the
alternatives feel even less satisfactory.

(This is entirely apart from the problems with shipping a Git repository
with all of its history to our archive network, which have already been
discussed at length.)

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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