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Re: changelog practice, unfinalised vs UNRELEASED vs ~version

On Thu, 23 Feb 2017 at 12:53:40 +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> We could
> decorate the suite instead, but that does not have any effect on
> generated binaries.

It does have an effect on the changelog inside the source and binary
packages, and on the changes file (which is precisely the signed
instruction to the archive, "please add the sources and/or
binaries referenced in Files/Checksums-* to the suite referenced in
Distribution"). One of the advantages of decorating the suite is that
tools like dak and reprepro will already reject a changes file with a
wrong suite, without even needing explicit code for it, because their
configuration presumably doesn't include a suite named UNRELEASED or

Unfortunately, if you build your release binaries with sbuild, a
common configuration will overwrite the Distribution in the changes file
with an unintended one. I wrote a patch for Lintian to detect this
back in 2010 (#542747), but it hasn't landed yet.

Because changes files are exactly an instruction to dak (or similar)
to include the built sources/binaries in the designated suite, I think
it's probably a bad idea to encourage DDs to produce changes files
that will say "Distribution: unstable" (or some other valid suite)
for unfinished packages.

As I noted on #542747, this property of changes files also means that if
a Debian derivative (or an addon repository like apt.postgresql.org) has
DD contributors, then that derivative should avoid using a Debian suite
name as its suite name. This is because anyone obtaining a DD-signed
.changes file for that addon repository could upload it to the main
Debian repository, and it would normally be accepted into the suite
of the same name. apt.postgresql.org seems to be one of the few addon
repositories that does this (IMO) correctly, by using a distinct suite
name (in their case jessie-pgdg).

I can't help wondering whether changes files ought to include some
globally unique indication of the project in which the change is
requested (for instance debian.org, ubuntu.com or [apt.]postgresql.org);
but at the moment they don't, and I don't see an obvious place in the
workflow to declare "this is really for Debian" vs. "this is for
apt.postgresql.org". Maybe at debsign time?


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