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Re: What is reasonable for debian/NEWS?

On Wed, May 13, 2020 at 06:27:11PM +0200, Andreas Ronnquist wrote:
> I have a package (the cd audio ripper asunder) that has been using
> freedb.org for getting CDDB information, which has closed it's service
> - and is replacing it with gnudb.org which provide the same service.
> I am about to upload a new version to unstable where I patch this since
> a new upstream version hasn't been released yet - but this change of
> course only changes the default setting, any user will need to change
> their individual setting too.
> Is this reasonable to mention in debian/NEWS? (I just learned that it
> shouldn't be NEWS.Debian, but only NEWS)...

Actually those are different files with different purposes, and I think
that the change you describe is indeed suitable for NEWS.Debian:


The NEWS file (not NEWS.Debian) usually comes from upstream and is
a kind of a "release notes" changelog file, a high-level description of
the changes with each new upstream release, see e.g.
(yes, it's called "CHANGES" in the upstream distribution, but the Debian
package of confget installs it as /usr/share/doc/confget/NEWS)

The point is that this is different from the changelog file which also
usually comes from upstream, but is much more like a version control
system log of changes - a description of each and every change made to
the upstream source in chronological order, see e.g.

Both of these files are installed in the /usr/share/doc/<pkgname>
directory, but none of the information in them is specific to the Debian
package and its revisions. You are probably familiar with another file,
/usr/share/doc/<pkgname>/changelog.Debian, which contains brief
information about the changes made in each upload of the Debian package
(each Debian revision) - this is the file that is usually named
"debian/changelog" in the source package. Well, just as
the changelog.Debian file describes changes made to the Debian package,
so the NEWS.Debian file should describe really important changes that
the users should be made aware of even if they do not read any of
the other files - the NEWS.Debian entries are usually displayed by
the program that the user runs to install the updated packages (or a
companion program, like apt-listchangelogs does for apt/apt-get).
See e.g. https://sources.debian.org/src/gnupg2/2.2.20-1/debian/NEWS/

Oh BTW, yes, I just now realized why you said that the file should be
called NEWS and not NEWS.Debian... right, debhelper and similar
utilities look for a "NEWS" file in the debian/ directory and then
install it as /usr/share/doc/<package>/NEWS.Debian - that's the name
that the installers look for, but in the source package you edit it as
debian/NEWS, yes.

> Also, this could be a candidate for a stable update too, right?

IMHO yes, but, of course, the release managers are the ones with
the final approval. But I'd say go ahead, get your updated package into
unstable first, add a note to debian/NEWS, and then go for a
minimal-change stable update, too.

> (And I know what you are thinking - A CD ripper? Do people still use
> CDs? - Yes, they do. :)

Oh, I know they... yeah, they, that's it, absolutely not me, they... do :)


Peter Pentchev  roam@ringlet.net roam@debian.org pp@storpool.com
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