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weekly policy summary

Here's what's been happening on debian-policy this week.

I lost track of some email last week, this summary includes that
email. Old proposals are soon to be marked REJECTED in the BTS. To
reflect that, such proposals are so marked in this summary. There's
still a window to second them.

Note: for details of the policy process, see
http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/policy/ch3.html. Also, this summary is
available on the web at http://kitenet.net/~joey/policy-weekly.html.

                            Changes to policy
Have proposal-submitting guidelines in policy package
  * Done.
  * Proposed on 31 May 1999 by Julian Gilbey; seconded by Santiago
    Vila and Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho.
  * Put Manoj's proposal-sumbitting guidlines in the policy package
    and be referred to by policy section 1.3.
    ( Manoj has made an executive decision to put this in. )
Rewrite of section 5.7 (Programs for the X Window System) (#38212)
  * Done.
  * Proposed on 23 May 1999 by Branden Robinson; seconded by Joey
    Hess, Joseph Carter and Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho.
  * Updates section 5.7 to reflect changes made in the great X re-org.
    Also modifies the section on motif, and also includes a few minor
    typographical changes elsewhere.
Separate menu policy (like virtual package list) (#37713)
  * Done.
  * Proposed on 15 May 1999 by Chris Waters; seconded by Edward Betts,
    Joey Hess, Joseph Carter and Steve Greenland.
  * Consists of some text to add to policy referring people to an
    external file that has the menu hierarchy in it. It's argued that
    this will make it easier to maintain the menu hierarchy, since
    Joost won't have to release a new menu package to do so. The
    proposed hierarchy is identical to that in #36051 with the
    addition of a top level Help menu and Apps/Databases.
Libtool archive (*.la) files in -dev' packages (#37257)
  * Done.
  * Proposed on 4 May 1999 by Ossama Othman; seconded by Marcus
    Brinkmann and Marcelo E. Magallon.
  * .la files aren't useless, libtool can use them and they are
    essential to programs that use libltdl. Proposal is to include .la
    files in -dev packages if they are produced by the build process.
    ( Manoj is trying to figure out how exactly this should be worded
    in policy. )
Logrotation (#37342)
  * Done.
  * Proposed on 28 Apr 1999 by Balazs Scheidler; seconded by Raphaël
    Hertzog, Brian Almeida, Marco d'Itri and Joseph Carter.
  * Change to using logrotate instead of savelog.
Utmp group proposal (#37389)
  * Done.
  * Proposed on 09 May 99 by Wichert Akkerman; seconded by Branden
    Robinson, Joel Klecker, Ossama Othman, Raphael Hertzog, Marco
    d'Itri, Joseph Carter and Karl M. Hegbloom.
  * Create a new utmp group that can modify utmp, programs that were
    previously suid root can be sgid utmp instead.
    ( Amended by Branden Robinson to make wtmp and lastlog also
    writable by group utmp. )
Adopt the FHS in place of FSSTND (#37345)
  * Done.
  * Proposed on 09 May 99 by Julian Gilbey; seconded by Joseph Carter,
    Aaron Van Couwenberg and Marco d'Itri.
  * Modify policy to require use of the FHS, with possible exceptions.
Needs clarification about Standards-Version (#21969)
  * Done.
  * Proposed by Santiago Vila; seconded by Martin Mitchell.
  * Summary of a huge thread/flamewar: the changelog for version of debian-policy contains a description of the
    version-numbering scheme of debian-policy, packaging-manual and
    devel-ref which are all meant to agree on the first three
    components (major, minor version and major patchlevel). They may,
    however, disagree on minor patchlevel. Thus it makes sense only to
    use the first three components in the Standards-Version field of
    packages, although use of all four components is also OK. This is
    documented in the changelog, but was never actually incorporated
    into the policy document. A flamewar ensued about the meaning of
    the changelog sentence....
GPL moved to /usr/share/common-licenses (#28747)
  * Done.
  * Proposed on 1999/04/05 by Santiago Vila; seconded by Marcus
    Brinkmann and Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho.
  * Correct the description of the location of the common licenses in
                           Accepted Amendments
Definition of extra priority (#33076)
  * Consensus.
  * Proposed on 8 Feb 1999 by Santiago Vila; seconded by Peter S
    Galbraith, M.C. Vernon, Jules Bean and Julian Gilbey.
  * Clarification of what the "extra" priority means.
Data section (#38902)
  * Under discussion.
  * Proposed on 3 Jun 1999 by Darren O. Benham; seconded by Peter S
    Galbraith, Peter Makholm and Peter Makholm.
  * "Since there is interest in packaging census data, maps, genome
    data and other huge datasets I and since most people agreed that
    dropping them in main or contrib is not a great idea, I propose
    the creation of a data section to reside along side of main,
    contrib and non-free." Includes rules about what goes in this
/etc/init.d/script need not be a conffile if actively maintained
  * Consensus?.
  * Proposed by Bdale Garbee; seconded by Julian Gilbey, Joey Hess and
    Aaron Van Couwenberg.
  * /etc/init.d/script files need not be conffiles if they are
    actively handled by maintainer scripts.
    ( Compare 29770 and 30122. )
Policy still suggests /etc/rc.boot instead of /etc/rcS.d (#32448)
  * Under discussion.
  * Proposed on 26 Jan 1999 by Brian Servis; seconded by Julian Gilbey
    and Joey Hess.
  * Change policy to refer to /etc/rcS.d instead of the old
Let's Debian blow... gracefully!
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Fabien Ninoles; seconded by Sean E. Perry, Edward
    Betts and Peter Makholm.
  * Creation of a sub-directory aside from main, contrib, non-free
    named data, that will hold non-program related data.
Md5sum proposal
  * Old.
  * Proposed on 17 May 1999 by Piotr Roszatycki; seconded by Peter S
    Galbraith and Christoph Lameter.
  * Require a md5ums file be present in all packages.
Software depending on non-US (#37251)
  * Old.
  * Proposed on 06 May 1999 by Marco d'Itri; seconded by Gordon
    Matzigkeit, Chris Waters and Davide G. M. Salvett.
  * Proposal to allow software that depends on software in non-us into
    main (currently restricted to contrib).
    ( This may be unnecessary given the recent re-org of non-us. )
Daemons should run as root only if really needed (#27205)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Marco d'Itri; seconded by Brock Rozen and Julian
  * As title; this should be in policy.
                            Active proposals
Rewrite of "Configuration files" section (#40766)
  * Under discussion.
  * Proposed by Steve Greenland; seconded by Joey Hess.
  * A replacement for section 4.7 that clarifies the different between
    "configuration file" and "conffile" and uses the two consitently.
Wording cleanup w.r.t. conffile/configuration file (#40767)
  * Under discussion.
  * Proposed by Steve Greenland; seconded by Joey Hess.
  * This cleans up references to "conffiles" and "confuguration files"
    throughout policy.
Changelog.html.gz sanitization (#40934)
  * Under discussion.
  * Proposed by Joey Hess.
  * A proposal to make a plain text dump of html changelogs available
    so changelogs are always available at a consitent location.
Get rid of undocumented(7) symlinks (#39830)
  * Under discussion.
  * Proposed on 20 Jun 1999 by Roland Rosenfeld.
  * All programs are still required to provide manpages, but
    undocumented.7 is done away with by this proposal.
                            Stalled proposals
Editor and sensible-editor
  * Stalled for 2 weeks.
  * Proposed on 2 Jun 1999 by Goswin Brederlow.
  * Instead of having programs use $EDITOR and fall back to editor,
    just use sensible-editor.
A pre-install required space checking mechanism for Debian packages
  * Stalled for 2 weeks.
  * Proposed on 19 May 1999 by Manoj Srivastava.
  * The idea is to enable tools like apt to check if a set of packages
    will fit on a disk, taking various partitions into account. This
    will require adding something like the output of du to the package
    or to the Packages file or to a new file that can be downloaded.
    The details are still being hashed out.
U/gid 100 should be statically allocated (#25882)
  * Stalled for 2 weeks.
  * Proposed by Anthony Towns.
  * Three users in the 0-99 range have GIDs of 100, and base-passwd
    statically assigns GID 100, which is against current policy.
    UID/GID 100 should be classed as statically assigned.
    ( Objection received from Julian Gilbey: this is, as it was
    originally filed, a critical bug against base-passwd and should
    return there instead of changing policy. )
                           Rejected proposals
Translation dictionaries
  * Old.
  * Proposed on 10 Jun 1999 by Roland Rosenfeld.
  * Specifies a location (/usr/share/trans) and a filename
    specification for translation dictionaries as used by the "ding"
    program, as well as a virtual package "translation-dictionary" for
    packages providing them.
Permit/require use of bz2 for source packages (#39299)
  * Old.
  * Proposed on 10 Jun 1999 by Chris Lawrence; seconded by Goswin
  * "I propose that we permit the use of bzip2 to compress source
    package files (.orig.tar and .diff for most packages, .tar for
    native packages). I further propose that the use of bzip2 be
    mandatory for newly uploaded source files, and that any existing
    source packages in the archive in gzip format exceeding 5 MB of
    compressed space be converted upon the freeze for potato."
    ( The reason this was proposed is because we're almost overflowing
    the second source CD already. This is a very contentious proposal.
A better way to configure debian systems (#38703)
  * Old.
  * Proposed on 1 Jun 1999 by Goswin Brederlow; seconded by Falk
  * Another configuration management proposal.
On closing of bugs (#23355)
  * Old.
  * Proposed on 31 May 1999 by Santiago Vila.
  * Add a section to policy about bugs, laying out how developers are
    allowed to manipulate them.
    ( Ian Jackson posted some guidlines about a year ago that meet
    this need. The Developer's Refernece may be a more suitable
    location for them. )
Shouldn't start init scripts in wrong runlevel (#20373)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Herbert Xu; seconded by Julian Gilbey.
  * Maintainer installation scripts should only start a service
    (/etc/init.d script) if it is required by the current runlevel.
    ( Have to take account of sysvinit versus rc-file methods; want
    the logic to be in an external program. )
Automatic installation and configuration
  * Old.
  * Proposed on 25 May 1999 by Massimo Dal Zotto.
  * Similar to the "configuration of packages" proposal, this is a way
    to allow automatic configuration of packages. This one records
    answers as you install once and remembers them for use later
    (possibly on a different machine). It also includes question
    priorities, and a mechanism for storing install-time messages in a
    mailbox. This proposal includes working code. No changes need be
    made to dpkg for this proposal to work.
Patented software == non-free?
  * Old.
  * Proposed on 10 May 99 by Joseph Carter; seconded by Davide G. M.
  * Amend policy 2.1.4 to remove reference to patents as something
    that may place software in non-free.
Ispell suggests non-existant package (#8221)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Vincent Renardias.
  * The ispell packages use the ispell-dictionary virtual package,
    which is not listed in the virtual package list.
    ( We could either add it or ignore it as the ispell packages all
    cooperate. )
/etc/environment (#20099)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Florian Hars.
  * There is currently no policy on the use or content of
    /etc/environment, and there probably should be.
Mutt: Mail can be lost from inbox! (#31441)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Marco d'Itri.
  * Require both fcntl() and dotlock locking for mailbox locking to
    prevent mail loss when using NFS.
    ( This was originally raised as a critical bug against mutt, so
    should probably be looked into quite soon. )
Unexpected use of /cgi-bin/ (#32263)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Johnie Ingram.
  * Desire to split /cgi-bin/ into system and local CGI directories
    for the scripts provided by Debian and locally.
    ( Quite contentious, but with good arguments for it if done
    properly. )
Section 3.4.2 clarify naming .sh scripts in /etc/init.d/ (#33826)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Richard Hawes.
  * The rc and rcS scripts do (or should) source (ba)sh scripts for
    efficiency; they are identified by a '.sh' suffix. But policy
    makes no mention of this.
    ( /etc/init.d scripts are now described in section 3.3.2 of
    policy. )
Missing UUCP-locking info (#11094)
  * Old.
  * Proposed on 1997/08/24 by John Goerzen.
  * The policy should explicitly mention that serial lines require
    UUCP-style locking.
    ( The then-current policy maintainer said that it was in the
    FSSTND so did not need to be in policy, but policy would be
    modified to include a note about it. However, closer reading of
    FSSTND and FHS would seem to indicate that it just describes where
    lockfiles should be placed, not that they must be used. )
Do not make hardlinks to conffiles (#22935)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Ian Jackson; seconded by Julian Gilbey.
  * They should be avoided wherever possible.
Security issue when accessing documentation through an http server
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Martin Stjernholm.
  * /usr/doc can be accessed through the http servers by default,
    which allows crackers easy access to version numbers of all
    installed software. This default should be changed by policy.
    ( This was originally raised as an Important bug, and has
    apparently been discussed on Bugtraq recently. )
Is it ok to close a bug without fixing it? (#24067)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Santiago Vila.
  * There is no proposal here, except in the title.
    ( This is a debate between Santiago and James T. over a particular
    "bug". )
Suggestion to use (#24133)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Francesco Potorti`.
  * Default news server should also be looked for using NNTPSERVER
    environment variable
Dependency issue of the manpages (#24695)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Keita Maehara.
  * The man-browser virtual package should be in virtual packages
    ( This could be closed if we class all manpage readers and users
    as cooperating, but this seems to be too much to ask. )
Mailboxes with perm 660 (#24772)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Herbert Xu.
  * Mailboxes should surely be installed with mode 600 rather than
    mode 660 owned by .mail.
Gradio: binaries should be in /usr/bin not /usr/X11R6/bin (#25199)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Ben Pfaff.
  * X-dependent binaries should live in /usr/bin, not /usr/X11R6/bin.
    ( This is currently being discussed in a separate thread on
    -policy. )
Debian-policy should probably contain the FHS standard. (#25533)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Santiago Vila.
  * As the title.
    ( This can be closed as soon as 37345 (adoption of FHS) is
    implemented; this will follow as a direct result. )
Contact address for virtual package name list (#26159)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Adam di Carlo.
  * Contact name in virtual-packages-list should be debian-policy, not
    Christian Schwarz.
    ( This *must* be implemented, possibly by referring to the
    policy-modification process. )
Debian Logo License (#26915)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Manoj Srivastava.
  * No actual proposal included.
    ( Can probably be closed, especially given the recent vote(s). )
Minor error in S2.1.6 of policy manual (#27137)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Mark Baker.
  * Programs whose authors encourage donations but claim that not
    donating is immoral etc. should go in non-free, not contrib;
    contrib's defn changed
Icon location policy (#27869)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Daniel Martin.
  * Where should XPM and other icon files live? Not discussed by FHS.
Differentiate between conffile and configuration file (#29770)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Santiago Vila.
  * (a) Rewrite policy to make a clear distinction between conffiles
    (thing's listed in a package's conffile) and configuration files
    (b) Modify policy to say: "A package may not modify a
    configuration file of another package, except by arrangement (with
    that package or by policy)."
    ( Compare 21585 and 30122. )
Debian-policy could include emacs policy (#30036)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Santiago Vila.
  * Discussion about including sub-policies (emacs, menu) in the
    debian-policy package.
    ( How does this interact with accepted amendment 37713? )
Fix bad advice about conffile management (#30122)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Steve Greenland; seconded by Manoj Srivastava.
  * Another clean-up request for policy's description of conffile
    ( Compare 21585 and 29770. )
xdm: xdm should not start in all multi-user runlevels by default
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Branden Robinson.
  * Runlevels policy: should we have a runlevel which does not start X
    (specifically xdm)?
/etc/init.d scripts (#36151)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Brock Rozen.
  * /etc/init.d scripts should specify an explicit PATH so that they
    find the necessary programs such as start-stop-daemon, even if
    called in an unusual way.
What exactly is allowed in the PAGER variable? (#36619)
  * Old.
  * Proposed by Santiago Vila.
  * This should be described in policy.
    ( Should other similar variables such as EDITOR and VISUAL also
    be? )

Last modified: Fri Jul 9 13:16:11 1999

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