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Bug#42052: marked as done ([ACCEPTED 2/4/01] /var/mail and /var/spool/mail)

Your message dated Mon, 30 Apr 2001 09:25:19 +0100
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and subject line debian-policy_3.5.4.0_i386.changes INSTALLED
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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 23:31:13 -0700
From: Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org>
To: submit@bugs.debian.org
Subject: [PROPOSAL] /var/mail and /var/spool/mail
Message-ID: <19990727233113.A24894@debian.org>
References: <19990725151514.B5137@debian.org> <Pine.LNX.3.96.990727133803.9834A-100000@cantor.unex.es> <19990727064519.C14812@debian.org> <87zp0hanlz.fsf@glaurung.green-gryphon.com>
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In-Reply-To: <87zp0hanlz.fsf@glaurung.green-gryphon.com>; from Manoj Srivastava on Tue, Jul 27, 1999 at 02:39:36PM -0500
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Package: debian-policy
Version: 3.0.1

On Tue, Jul 27, 1999 at 02:39:36PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>  >> This way, people would be free to move /var/spool/mail/* to /var/mail/*
>  >> at their discretion, but this is never done automatically by the system.
>  Joseph> That was the point of the suggestion.  There was actually a
>  Joseph> bug to this effect against policy suggesting we do this, but
>  Joseph> I closed it when it seemed FHS was going to lose /var/mail
>  Joseph> since there were complaints about it.
>         Sounds like a plan. Could you reopen this proposal, then, and
>  we can make this a part of policy 3.0.X?


I propose that we create a safe migration path between /var/spool/mail and

The base-files package should implement the following:
  * If /var/mail does not exist but /var/spool/mail does (standard
    configuration today), a symlink /var/mail -> /var/spool/mail should be
  * If /var/mail does exist but /var/spool/mail does not, a symlink
    /var/spool/mail -> /var/mail should be created.
  * If /var/mail and /var/spool/mail are both directories, Something Is
    Really Screwed and the installation should fail, telling the user to
    clean up the disaster.  =>  (lost or mangled mail is potentially a
    disaster and we should not risk an automated solution..)

To do this I suggest we ammend policy first by replacing all existing
instances of /var/spool/mail with /var/mail and then changing the second
paragraph of section 5.6 which currently reads

   The mail spool is /var/spool/mail and the interface to send a mail
   message is /usr/sbin/sendmail (as per the FHS). The mail spool is part
   of the base system and not part of the MTA package.

to the following:

   The mail spool is /var/mail and the interface to send a mail message is
   /usr/sbin/sendmail (as per the FHS).  The mail spool is part of the
   base system and any package requiring use øf /var/mail must declare
   dependency on base-files (>= #BASEFILESVER#).

Also, a new section should be inserted after section 3.1.2 containing the

  3.1.3 The system mail spool

   While the FHS mandates the mail spool be accessable as /var/mail, it is
   important to retain compatibility with older packages and locally
   compiled programs.  Packages using the mail spool should use /var/mail
   and declare dependency on base-files (>= #BASEFILESVER#).

There's some redundancy in that, but I think it's warranted I think.  If
someone else thinks they can do a better job with the changes to the
policy, feel free to offer.  =>

I think it's best to leave the nitty-gritty handling of making sure both
exist and one is a symlink to the other to the base-files maintainer since
that's all under the scope of the base-files post or preinst and doesn't
concern anything else.

Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org>             Debian GNU/Linux developer
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Software is like sex, it's better when it's free.     -- Linus Torvalds

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>From J.D.Gilbey@qmw.ac.uk Mon Apr 30 03:25:37 2001
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Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 09:25:19 +0100
From: Julian Gilbey <J.D.Gilbey@qmw.ac.uk>
To: 42052-done@bugs.debian.org, 83977-done@bugs.debian.org,
	85503-done@bugs.debian.org, 86436-done@bugs.debian.org,
Subject: debian-policy_3.5.4.0_i386.changes INSTALLED
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  to pool/main/d/debian-policy/debian-policy_3.5.4.0.tar.gz
fhs.txt byhand
fhs-2.1.html.tar.gz byhand
policy.txt.gz byhand
perl-policy.txt.gz byhand
  to pool/main/d/debian-policy/debian-policy_3.5.4.0.dsc
menu-policy.txt.gz byhand
mime-policy.txt.gz byhand
virtual-package-names-list.txt byhand
policy.pdf.gz byhand
debconf_specification.txt.gz byhand
policy.html.tar.gz byhand
libc6-migration.txt byhand
  to pool/main/d/debian-policy/debian-policy_3.5.4.0_all.deb
policy.ps.gz byhand
Changes: debian-policy ( unstable; urgency=low
  * [ACCEPTED 2/4/01] /var/mail and /var/spool/mail  closes: Bug#42052
  * [AMENDMENT 26/04/2001] include Perl Policy       closes: Bug#83977
  * Also incorporates all the improvements that Julian has made to to the
    grammar and flow of the policy manual. The following are mostly
    Julian's fixes:
  * Fixed the confusing self referential language.   closes: Bug#85503
  * Correct ambiguous kanguage about declaring build dependencies.
                                                     closes: Bug#86436
  * Improved the woding of the footnote about shlibdeps.



         Julian Gilbey, Dept of Maths, Queen Mary, Univ. of London
       Debian GNU/Linux Developer,  see http://people.debian.org/~jdg
  Donate free food to the world's hungry: see http://www.thehungersite.com/

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