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Re: Bug#656242: perl: .packlist file missing

On 20 January 2012 20:02, Niko Tyni <ntyni@debian.org> wrote:
> This is a very longstanding Debian deviation for both the core and the
> vendor directories. I can't easily find the full rationale and this was
> way before my time, so I'm taking the debian-perl list in the loop.
> I hope the discussion stays civil.
> The history of the perl Debian packaging that I have available only
> ranges back to 2005, and the .packlist files have been removed from the
> core packages for all that time.

The  changes in the handling of .packlist files and perllocal.pod were
made be me over ten years ago.  The masses have not been storming the
gates demanding their return over that decade.

As best as I recall, the main rationale for removing .packlist was
that in a system which was installed by dpkg, rather than
ExtUtils::Install it was redundant information, and required
maintainer scripts to manage updates to a common file for little
benefit.  The location would also likely need to be changed to
something under /var rather than /usr/lib if it were being managed by
maintainer scripts in such a fashion.

In response to Marc's comment in the bug that "Unfortunately, when
debian redefined .packlist semantics this way, it _kept_ the name of
perl, instead of renaming it to, say debperl." I would say that this
is a ridiculous exaggeration.

Unless things have changed greatly since last I looked, the contents
of .packlist are a convenient way for the admin to know what is
installed, and not used for dependency checking by Makefiles (where
"eval { require Foo }" is more likely more reliable).

If it is essential for ExtUtils::Installed to work, then I'd say that
an appropriate fix for Debian would be to patch that module to query
dpkg first.  Patches are welcome from those who believe that this
behaviour is required.


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