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Bug#514919: Removing support for uploads to multiple distributions

On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 09:27:17PM +0000, Adam D. Barratt wrote:
> The Policy section detailing the "Distribution" field in .changes files
> specifies that the field may contain a space-separated list of
> distributions. Whilst this is technically accurate, the feature has been
> deprecated since the "testing" distribution became an official part of
> the archive and is, imho, obsolete; the use case of uploading the same
> package to unstable and the frozen-stable-to-be as a single upload no
> longer applies.
> I discussed this with a couple of members of the ftpteam on IRC earlier
> today, and they were both in favour of removing support for the feature
> from dak. One of them had a dig through the archives and discovered that
> there have been no multiple-distribution uploads since 2004; even then
> there was only the one upload in that year, with the grand total of
> three in 2003.

For Debian's archive, I think this change is entirely reasonable.

However, I'm not convinced that it is correct to remove this feature
from the *syntax*. While Ubuntu's archive maintenance software doesn't
support it right now, several people have requested it
(https://bugs.launchpad.net/soyuz/+bug/235064). If you're maintaining
packages for a system that releases every six months, it turns out to be
rather more likely in practice to be able to say that the same packages
will work for several different releases, and less painful to maintain
this state. .changes is a good format for interacting with Debian-format
archives other than just Debian's, and this seems worth preserving.

How about this patch instead (incorporating your fold of "frozen" into

diff --git a/policy.sgml b/policy.sgml
index 36f51aa..78f2346 100644
--- a/policy.sgml
+++ b/policy.sgml
@@ -3096,10 +3096,6 @@ Package: libc6
 		      than unstable, but still risky.  It is not
 		      possible to upload packages directly to
-		  </item>
-		  <tag><em>frozen</em></tag>
-		  <item>
 		      From time to time, the <em>testing</em>
 		      distribution enters a state of "code-freeze" in
 		      anticipation of release as a <em>stable</em>
@@ -3124,7 +3120,9 @@ Package: libc6
 		  You should list <em>all</em> distributions that the
-		  package should be installed into.
+		  package should be installed into. Note, however, that
+		  the Debian archive only supports listing a single
+		  distribution.

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson@debian.org]

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