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Kudos to everyone who has worked on the Debian build & packaging infrastructure

Hi all,

I set out this weekend to get up to speed on maintaining and packaging Debian packages and spent many hours reading documentation and playing around with the tooling surrounding building packages.

This prompted me to drop in here to say just how darned impressive everything is. The documentation is both helpful and extensive, and the tooling is just amazing. I could give example after example of the things that impressed me, but I'll spare your inboxes and mention just a few:

1) Debmake's ability to produce a mostly working control information file set from any random source tarball seems nearly magical.

2) It's amazing how easy it is to set up a chroot'd build environment and use it to test package builds, which is incredibly essential if for no other reason than because it makes it trivially easy to figure out what dependencies you need to list in your control file.

3) Lintian's ability to find and flag most of the issues that detract from package quality and may prevent it from being accepted is both impressive and useful.

I've been maintaining free software for 30 years so I've got a lot of experience with a lot of different tools, and I've rarely encountered anything that is as comprehensive and well-documented as all this stuff is.

To be sure, there's a huge amount to learn! But to me, at least, it doesn't seem like that's because there's a lot of cruft. On the contrary, the stuff that's there seems absolutely necessary to maintain high quality in Debian.

Thank you so much to everyone who has worked on this.


Jonathan Kamens

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