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Re: Ubuntu-to-Debian packaging

On Sun, Dec 02, 2007 at 02:04:43AM +0100, Romain Beauxis wrote:
> However, your arguments are not much consistent as well since you mix 
> copyright related issues ("take the work from others") and technical issues 
> ("track recent changes before initial debian upload").

I don't mix arguments. These two arguments are totally on its own and
both arguments are valid.
So read my arguments this way:

1) Copyright / license issues: By removing important information from
the previous packaging you might insult the packaging license.
Redistribution in Debian might therefore be illegal.

2) Removing changelog entries for packaging that you did not do yourself
might be problematic, because their might have been changes those
rationales are documented in the changelog and might be important in the
future. In fact this has often be the case. Besides beeing problematic
to the packager, you take the possibility for the user to see what has
been done to the package in the past. You make blackboxes out of Debian

> > Thats bad. You should not answer to such questions if you don't know it
> > for your self! Thats especially true because of your DD status that
> > causes others to give your saying more confidence.
> Please, try to keep friendly, I don't think there's anything in this 
> discussion that needs this kind of langage..

Really, it may have sounded more rude to you, then it was meant to be.
But I was really annoyed by such a statement, because it was made on a
list where a lot of people come to actively _seek_ help and advise from
people who _should_ really know it better then themselves. More then
anywhere else beeing a DD is an important status here, because people
expect a DD to be the best mentor they can imagine and as those to know
policies, best practices or at least to be able to look for them during
a discussion.

> So that's definitly a personal taste for that. 
> You may miss important informations while erasing previous changelog, as well 
> as you could spam the changelog with minor changes that would be 
> uninteresting.

Not neccesarily a matter of personal taste. Debian Packages are subject
to change by not only one person. It _often_ happens that others need to
track changes in your package. So you may think of personal taste, but I
think about others that could do a NMU and don't know who did originally
create the package.

> I personally endorse the erase *personal* policy since I believe any important 
> fact on the package should, hence, not be in the changelog but on a file like 
> README.Debian or else, and that I believe it's relevant to see on the debian 
> changelog only debian related changes.

You get the definition of "important facts" in _this_ context wrong. Not
everything is well-placed in README.Debian. Lets see an example:
Because of an issue with older kernels a binary in Debian had to be made
setuid root. Now those older kernels aren't supported anymore and
someone added a bug report about that setuid flag. What would you've
done if you were the one adding the setuid root flag? Or if it
originated in a package where you based your work on.
Adding a note about that to README.Debian? I don't think thats
proper. But besides from note-taking: Would you just change it or
search for a reasoning why this setuid root flag got added? I think the
latter is better, because by just removing something you could break
things. Now adding all those mini-informations to README.Debian would
bloat this file up, making it to a bad information source for users,
cause they would ignore it then (too much informations they don't care

> Other don't do like this, so what's the point ? Perhaps that's the reason why 

Debian is much maintainer-centric, because every package maintainer can
decide on his own for his own package. But just because it is like this,
its not good in every case. With no consensous on doing some things
similar or better equal there is no chance for the user to definitive
know where to take informations from. Thats worse. So the point is to
discuss on such topics and see whats the best solution for our users, be
cause according to the Debian constitution thats all we do our work for.

> there's no official policy, and I think we don't need official policy for 
> everything.

You are right. We don't need an official policy for everything. And in
fact a lot of people think that policy should only document
well-established best practices. Thats fine, as we are all sane people
who can discuss things and use a common way after reaching a consensous.

> And yes, you credit initial maintainers on the copyright of course.

You should not only credit them, but see how they licensed their work
(because Debian packaging is a license-worth work as well!) and respect
their license.


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