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Bug#102213: [PROPOSAL] Policy interpretation and exceptions

Package: debian-policy
Severity: wishlist

I think we should emphasise compliance with the spirit of policy, in the
cases where that might conflict with the letter. I think there's general
agreement about this, but I'm not really sure.

So, for your perusal, here's a possible addition to policy's scope section:

--- policy.sgml Fri Jun  1 19:40:16 2001
+++ policy.sgml.discretion      Mon Jun 25 22:47:48 2001
@@ -157,6 +157,21 @@
          merely informative, and are not part of Debian policy itself.
+        <p>
+          The guidelines in this manual are expected to be interpreted
+          intelligently, with a view to improving the technical quality
+          of the Debian distribution.  Where a guideline in this manual
+          does not make sense for a particular package, or describes
+          an inadequate solution, the maintainer should discuss the
+          issue with other developers via the <tt>debian-devel</tt>
+          or <tt>debian-policy</tt> mailing lists, with a view to
+          finding a better solution, or correcting a flaw in policy.
+          In rare cases a package may be enough of a special case that
+          it should not follow a guideline and the exception would just
+          be confusing if listed in this manual itself.  In those cases,
+          a comment to this effect should generally be included in the
+          package's <tt>README.Debian</tt> file.
+        </p>
          In this manual, the words <em>must</em>, <em>should</em> and


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

``_Any_ increase in interface difficulty, in exchange for a benefit you
  do not understand, cannot perceive, or don't care about, is too much.''
                      -- John S. Novak, III (The Humblest Man on the Net)

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