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Bug#111137: minor semantic confusion in 13.6/13.8 pertaining to symlinked doc dirs

Package: debian-policy
Severity: minor

I have just had a bug filed on a package I recently adopted (#111127),
my new version of which replaces the /usr/share/doc/foo directory with a
symlink to /usr/share/doc/bar, where foo depends on bar. This is
because both foo and bar build from the same source package and hence
share copyrights, Debian changelogs, and upstream documentation.

Due to a dpkg bug/feature (#17624 - where is this now documented?) dpkg
will not replace the directory with a symlink upon upgrading, resulting
in an empty /usr/share/doc/foo and the bug being filed. I will modify
the package's maintainer scripts to work around dpkg's behaviour upon
this upgrade. However, the bug caused me to check policy, and notice the
following minor semantic problem.

Section 13.6 says, pertaining to copyrights, that it is OK to symlink
/usr/share/doc/foo to /usr/share/doc/bar, provided foo depends on bar,
so the copyright remains automatically accessible.

However, section 13.8 says any non-native package *must contain* a
/usr/share/doc/foo/changelog.Debian.gz file, and seems to make no
allowance for /usr/share/doc/foo being a symlink. If the directory is a
symlink then the package can contain no files in that directory, but
because the packages build from the same source, they can legitimately
share the same Debian changelog via this symlink, and the file doesn't
in fact need to be included in the package foo.

Because of the allowance made in 13.6 I am assuming this is acceptable,
but with a literal reading of policy it wouldn't appear that way, so I
am filing this bug in the hope that the wording in 13.8 can be clarified
to resolve this discrepancy.


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