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Re: [RFC] dpkg-buildpackage development goal

Frank Lichtenheld writes ("[RFC] dpkg-buildpackage development goal"):
> Since I haved hacked quite a bit on dpkg-buildpackage in the last one or
> two weeks I wanted to gather some comments on what people think should
> be the goal of dpkg-buildpackage development.

I think I have an answer to this question.

The interface provided by a Debian source package is that specified
for debian/rules.  This interface needs to be kept stable in the sense
that feeding new packages to old tools, and old packages to new tools,
needs to keep working.  It also needs to be kept simple for packages,
since we must conform to this interface in all of our packages.

It used to be the case that very few programs needed to interact in
any at all complicated way with source packages.  But this is becoming
less true, and the interfaces keep getting more feature-rich.

At the moment if we want to introduce some new feature for packages to
provide then either we need backward-compatibility code in every
relevant package, or we need backward-compatibility code in every
program which uses packages.

I think dpkg-buildpackage should take up the role of being the single
place where this impedance matching is done.

That is, the interface for packages should be made such that it is as
straightforward as possible to make a correct package, and packages'
callers should rely on dpkg-buildpackage to communicate their
requirements appropriately to the underlying packages with fallback if


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