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Moving changelog and copyright files to control tarball, or merging control and data tarballs ?

Hi Raphaël and Guillem,

in http://bugs.debian.org/681289, Raphaël proposed that the Changelog and
copyright should be package metadata.  I personally like the idea, but I note
that last time it was introduced on debian-devel, it was not consensual
(http://lists.debian.org/20437.51932.971859.384176@chiark.greenend.org.uk), so
I answer to your proposal on debian-devel to restart the discussion there.

As the logic applied to the changelog and copyright files can be applied to
most other files produced by the packager, like NEWS.Debian, it looks like the
trend would be to have them installed in /var/lib/dpkg rather than

This is somewhat equivalent of a change in the binary package format, as
packages will need to pre-depend on a recent version of dpkg, and programs not
getting the metadata through dpkg will need to be corrected.

Pushing the logic further, I wonder if that suggests that the Debian binary
package format could be simplified to be a simple tarball with the metadata
in /var/lib/dpkg, instead of the current format with a data and a control
tarballs joined together in the 'ar' format. 

This would not prevent dpkg to store the metadata somewhere else than
/var/lib/dpkg later, as it would be easy to intercept the files and treat them
appropriately, similar to what is being done with files in usr/share/doc with
multi-arch packages.  Also, once using a simple tarball as binary package,
arbitrary files become trivial to extract quickly, or perhaps even to update
(like for translations).

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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