Bug#473439: pick consistent terminology for category/component/area
Russ Allbery <email@example.com> writes:
> I did a bit more research based on Osamu Aoki's excellent work.
> Currently, these things are referred to using three different terms:
> * dak calls them components.
> * The current Debian Policy document calls them categories.
> * The Social Contract calls them areas:
> We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of works that
> do not conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have
> created "contrib" and "non-free" areas in our archive for these
> I think Policy should not attempt to make up its own terminology here,
> so I'd like to change it to match either dak or the Social Contract.
> After thinking about it for a bit, I favor going to the terminology of
> the Social Contract with a minor modification (distribution areas
> instead of just areas) in part because of Ian's point and in part
> because I think it's meaningful to suppose that component refers to a
> technical capability of dak whereas distribution area refers to a
> concept within Debian as a project.
The above was written in July of last year. The only reaction that I got
to this proposal is a comment from Giacomo that didn't object but
suggested standardizing more of the terminology while we're at it. But I
don't think there's been much progress on that front.
As mentioned, I'm not sure we need to match the terminology in dak as long
as we're not confusing about it. dak is referring to technical
capabilities which are used to implement certain features. I still think
distribution area is a good name for this, better than categories.
However, there doesn't appear to be any consensus on this right now. So
this is a ping to see if we do have consensus and people just haven't
said, or if we don't. If we don't have consensus, my inclination is to
close this bug and continue using categories, since I don't think anything
else uses category in a confusing way. I don't want to just leave the bug
open; it doesn't seem likely that anything fundamental is going to change
about this bug report in the future.
Here's the proposed patch:
> diff --git a/policy.sgml b/policy.sgml
> index 24c9072..16919b2 100644
> --- a/policy.sgml
> +++ b/policy.sgml
> @@ -293,7 +293,13 @@
> <em>free</em> in our sense (see the Debian Free Software
> Guidelines, below), or may be imported/exported without
> restrictions. Thus, the archive is split into the distribution
> - areas or categories based on their licenses and other restrictions.
> + areas or components<footnote>
> + The Debian archive software uses the term "component" internally
> + and in the Release file format to refer to the division of an
> + archive. The Debian Social Contract refers to distribution
> + areas. This document uses the same terminology as the Social
> + Contract.
> + </footnote> based on their licenses and other restrictions.
> @@ -310,8 +316,8 @@
> - The <em>main</em> category forms the
> - <em>Debian GNU/Linux distribution</em>.
> + The <em>main</em> distribution area forms the <em>Debian GNU/Linux
> + distribution</em>.
> @@ -422,10 +428,10 @@
> <sect id="sections">
> - <heading>Categories</heading>
> + <heading>Distribution areas</heading>
> <sect1 id="main">
> - <heading>The main category</heading>
> + <heading>The main distribution area</heading>
> Every package in <em>main</em> must comply with the DFSG
> @@ -456,7 +462,7 @@
> <sect1 id="contrib">
> - <heading>The contrib category</heading>
> + <heading>The contrib distribution area</heading>
> Every package in <em>contrib</em> must comply with the DFSG.
> @@ -496,7 +502,7 @@
> <sect1 id="non-free">
> - <heading>The non-free category</heading>
> + <heading>The non-free distribution area</heading>
> Packages must be placed in <em>non-free</em> if they are
> @@ -612,13 +618,13 @@
> - The packages in the categories <em>main</em>,
> + The packages in the distribution areas <em>main</em>,
> <em>contrib</em> and <em>non-free</em> are grouped further
> into <em>sections</em> to simplify handling.
> - The category and section for each package should be
> + The distribution area and section for each package should be
> specified in the package's <tt>Section</tt> control record
> (see <ref id="f-Section">). However, the maintainer of the
> Debian archive may override this selection to ensure the
> @@ -627,10 +633,10 @@
> <list compact="compact">
> <em>section</em> if the package is in the
> - <em>main</em> category,
> + <em>main</em> distribution area,
> - <em>segment/section</em> if the package is in
> + <em>area/section</em> if the package is in
> the <em>contrib</em> or <em>non-free</em>
> distribution areas.
> @@ -8949,9 +8955,10 @@ install-info --quiet --remove /usr/share/info/foobar.info
> - Packages in the <em>contrib</em> or <em>non-free</em> categories
> - should state in the copyright file that the package is not part
> - of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and briefly explain why.
> + Packages in the <em>contrib</em> or <em>non-free</em>
> + distribution areas should state in the copyright file that the
> + package is not part of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and
> + briefly explain why.
Russ Allbery (firstname.lastname@example.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>