Bug#593909: debian-policy: Clarifications about the syntax of Debian control files.
Charles Plessy <email@example.com> writes:
> Le Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 10:24:57AM -0700, Russ Allbery a écrit :
>> What this paragraph means by "wrap" is "may span multiple lines," and
>> it's also really not correct about whitespace. I think what this
>> paragraph should say is something like:
>> In fields where the value may not span multiple lines, the amount
>> of whitespace in the field body is not significant. Any amount of
>> whitespace is equivalent to a single space. Whitespace must not
>> appear inside names (of packages, architectures, files, or anything
>> else) or version numbers, or between the characters of
>> multi-character versoin relationships.
> I still have difficulties to understand the meaning of this paragraph,
> and to what fields it applies. Is it just specifiying that the parser,
> in the case of fields that allow continuation lines, can be either
> intructed to replace all white spaces and newlines by single spaces, or
> to leave the value as it is, including the new lines?
No, it's really trying to say that the amount of whitespace isn't
significant. I'm not sure how else to explain it. That's one of those
precise terms of art for which there isn't really an acceptable synonym,
at least not that I can think of. Replacing all whitespace with a single
space is one of the things that you can do *because* the amount of
whitespace is not significant, but it's not an equivalent statement.
> In that case I would propose the following wording.
> The field's description may speficy whether continuation lines
> are allowed or not.
The phrase "span multiple lines" needs to stay.
> When continuation lines are allowed, the field's value contains
> the newlines characters of the continuation lines.
I think that's a confusing way of saying that whitespace other than
leading and trailing whitespace is significant in fields that span
multiple lines. I'd rather just say it that way.
> In that case, whitespace must not appear inside names (of
> packages, architectures, files, or anything else) or version
> numbers, or between the characters of multi-character version
That raises another issue: this is not specific to fields that cannot span
multiple lines. This is true of all fields. We should make this a
separate paragraph to make that more obvious.
> I have one more question: are continuation lines disallowed unless
> specified otherwise?
Russ Allbery (firstname.lastname@example.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>