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Re: Temporary solution for changelog problem in binNMUs


[ dropped -release and -wb-team, added 681289@bugs.d.o ]

Guillem Jover <guillem@debian.org> writes:
> On Mon, 2013-05-13 at 17:04:51 +0100, Ian Jackson wrote:
>> The real problem is that these changelog files are primarily intended
>> for human beings.  They should live in /usr/share/doc, and their
>> location should be transparent.
> The fact that parts of it might be mostly consumable by human beings,
> does not counter that fact that those files are still very structured
> packaging metadata, and those really do not belong in /usr/share/doc.
> For example changelogs, contain version and release dates, bug closures,
> urgency and target distribution, uploader, etc. The same goes for machine
> parseable copyright (although I'm not a proponent and I've not switched
> any of my packages to it), can be consumed by humans, but a huge part
> of it is also meant for programs.

The part of the changelog that is targeted at programs is mostly
extracted from the source package at build time or from the changes file
by the archive. The changelog copy in the binary packages is just
documentation for humans.

In particular the target distribution and version aren't true: they
don't match the actual distribution (Ubuntu has "unstable" for all
synced packaged, but no "unstable" suite) nor the actual version (gcc
has the source version here which differs from the binary version;
binNMUs have the binary version there which differs from the source
version). That's okay for documentation, but probably not if one wants
to understand it as metadata.

Should other structured package metadata also be included in the
control part? What about NEWS.Debian (IMO more interesting than
changelog for most users), lintian overrides or scripts for use by
reportbug (/usr/share/bug)? If you want users to access the changelog
via dpkg as looking in /usr/share/doc might be too distribution
specific[1], that's surely also true for NEWS.Debian?

  [1] <https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2012/06/msg00410.html>

You mentioned that only machine-parsable copyright should be dpkg
metadata in [2]? That seems more complicated that treating it always
as documentation.

  [2] <https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2012/06/msg00314.html>

Will dpkg continue to support not installing changelogs and other files
you plan to move from doc/ to control? One can exclude everything in
/usr/share/doc if one doesn't want to have it.

Will it still be possible to ship symlinks for the changelog or
copyright file? We have some packages where those are quire large and
one might not want to include them in every binary package.

I don't think that control.tar.* should include files besides those that
are needed by dpkg to manage the packages. That certainly doesn't
include the changelog.

So I don't think we actually gain anything from moving the files to the
control tarball. It just looks like a more invasive change...


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