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Re: Article in The Perl Review

-=| Jonathan Yu, Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 04:50:22PM -0500 |=-
> My impression so far is that packaging for Debian is probably a lot
> easier than it appears to someone who has had no experience doing it.
> However, so far, I haven't had a lot of time on my hands and the only
> documents I have read, things that gregoa suggested, like Debian
> policy documents.. are pretty darn scary.

If you ask me, creating .deb files from CPAN distributions is very 
easy. Fire up 'dh-make-perl --cpan Foo::Bar --build' and you are done. 
Doesn't work if dependencies are missing, but --recursive is in the 
TODO[1] :)

    [1] and patches are warmly welcome. see also 

As of making the resulting package suitable for Debian, that is 
a completely different story. You can't go there unless you have read 
and understood the policy and the reasons behind it. The best way to 
learn this is by reading, trial and error, and asking. Takes time and 
effort, sure. Results in a package that can be used by milions of 
people with no hassle :)

My critic to the article is that it deals with tiny 'mechanical' 
details, that sound boring to people knowing the mater and completely 
unjustified and artificially complicated to people outside.

I'd love if the article was more about general overview of the process. 
Source vs. binary packages, how the debian packaging is an "addition" 
(or a patch) to the upstream sources. How the debian package is 
described (control), built (rules), tracked (changelog), 
legally-packed (copyright), emphasising on the functions of the 
separate elements, rather than on their precise content. Pointers to 
the relevan sections of the policy and/or DevRef are a bonus.

All this has little to do with CPAN of course -- you could apply it to 
any software project you want to package. And this is the way I think 
it should be. CPAN dists are no different to the rest of the world. 
OK, they share some common properties, and thanks to this dh-make-perl 
can automate a lot of boring stuff -- more than plain dh_make -- but 
it still provides just a template to base the real work on.

Finally, I hope the goal of the article is to make CPAN authors more 
aware about how Debian works and why, rather than flood debian-perl ML 
with requests like "Here's my dh-make-perl-produced .deb, please 
upload it, it is ready" :)

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