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Bug#535577: debian-policy: what to do with user-generated data (databases) on purge

On Fri, Jul 03, 2009 at 01:51:53PM +0200, Bas Zoetekouw wrote:
> Package: debian-policy
> Version:
> Severity: wishlist
> Currently, policy is rather unclear on what to do with user-generated
> content, such as the content of databases, on purge.  Afaics, the only
> cases that are mentioned are those of conffiles and log files (both of
> which are to be removed at purge).
> I would argue that databses and such should NOT be removed on purge
> without asking the user explicitly
> The immediate cause of me filing this bug, was the apt-get upgrade I
> just did, which upgraded postgres-8.3 to postgres-8.4 on my system.
> However, postgres apparently doesn't automatically migrate the user
> data to the next version, but still postgress-8.3 was marked as

Well, there is the secondary isseu that packages should manage their
upgrade gracefully.

> candidate for autoremoval.  When I autoremoved the packages (with
> --purge), I did't notice postgres-8.3 in the list, an I certainly
> didn't expect it to eat my databases without asking me first.
> Sure, I should have paid more attention, but I still think that we
> shoudl try to protect users like me from themselves liek this, and at
> least _ask_ before removing databases (and other data).

I tend to agree with you, but I think there is a more fundamental issue:
user-generated content should not be stored in /var and should not created
and removed by maintainer scripts. (In other word, clearly separated from
automatically generated data like MTA queue, etc).

Bill. <ballombe@debian.org>

Imagine a large red swirl here. 

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