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Bug#59403: [PROPOSED] restrictions on content of /usr/share/doc

Package: debian-policy
Severity: wishlist


A proposal to limit the files that are placed in /usr/share/doc to those
that are not referred to by any programs on the system.


1. /usr/share/doc is showing signs of being used as a dumping ground for
random files associated with a package. Three examples are the lintian
override files, the Debian.bugtemplate files used by reportbug[1], and
.dhelp files.

2. It's a repeated wishlist that /usr/share/doc be able to be done away
with on low-disk space machines. This doesn't work extremely well yet since
dpkg cannot be told to exclude files in /usr/share/doc (though it may one
day), but it is reasonable to support people who link /usr/share/doc to
/dev/null or remove it.

Note that policy 6.7. already says, about files in
/usr/share/doc/<package>/examples: "These files should not be referenced by
any program--they're there for the benefit of the system administrator and
users, as documentation only."


The following diff is against section 6.3:

     It is often a good idea to put text information files (`README's,
     changelogs, and so forth) that come with the source package in
     `/usr/share/doc/<package>' in the binary package.  However, you don't
     need to install the instructions for building and installing the
     package, of course!
+    Files in /usr/share/doc should not be referenced by any program, and
+    the system adminostrator should be able to delete them without causing any
+    programs to break. Any files that are referenced by programs but are also
+    useful as standalone documentation should be installed under
+    /usr/share/<package>/ and symlinked to /usr/share/doc/<package>/.

see shy jo

[1] Note that I take full responsibility for the second being there; it was
    my idea. I've been shown the error of my ways.

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