Bug#196367: debian-policy: clarify what to do about priority mismatches
Every so often, somebody encounters the bit of the policy manual that
Packages must not depend on packages with lower priority values
(excluding build-time dependencies). In order to ensure this, the
priorities of one or more packages may need to be adjusted.
Seeing the "must", they then go and file a bunch of serious bugs.
However, priorities are set by ftpmaster overrides, and, even if the
maintainer uploads a "fixed" version of the package, the priority will
still be wrong in the Packages file until an ftpmaster goes and changes
the override. Thus, filing bugs against individual packages for this is
basically a waste of time. Instead of wasting a number of people's time
and effort with lots of release-critical bugs, all the reporter needed
to do was ask for the priorities of (ideally) a batch of packages to be
changed. (I'm not sure in exactly what format ftpmaster would prefer
reports like this - perhaps somebody could clarify - but I do know that
hassling maintainers is a horribly ineffective way to get this job
I appreciate that in general policy isn't really the place for telling
people how to go about getting particular problems fixed. However, when
you try to tell somebody that actually the maintainers can't really do
anything useful about the dozens of RC bugs they've just filed the
response is invariably "but policy said this was release-critical". I'd
really like it to have some clarifying text that says something like
this: "Priorities are set by the archive maintainers and can be changed
en masse, so filing release-critical bugs against individual packages is
a poor way to report this class of problem".
There were various discussions about this last year on debian-devel
after a bout of mass-filing.
Colin Watson [email@example.com]