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Bug#609162: debian-policy: package names with dots/periods ('.') and crontab files: packagers beware



Package: debian-policy
Severity: minor


The debian policy section 9.5 [1] suggests using the package name as a
file name when creating files in /etc/cron.d, /etc/cron.hourly,
/etc/cron.daily etc.  This works well *unless* the package name
includes a dot ('.'), as this forces the file name to include a
dot. And cron will ignore the files as a result.

It can be a real nightmare for packagers to figure out *why* their
crontabs do not run - cron silently ignores them, and no useful
logging occurs.

Could the the policy should be amended to suggest hyphens ('-')
instead of dots when naming these files?

I will not demand a change of cron's behaviour, as there is a good
rationale behind ignoring files with dots. And changing cron's
behaviour is unlikely to be 100% backward-compatible.

If the Debian Policy manual is changed, then this should cascade onto
other changes, for example:
* the Debian New Maintainer's Guide - section 5.4 [2]
* dh-make ?
* debhelper ? It could make sense to rename the files when building a package

and probably others that I cannot think of.  I will be happy to file
bugs on those packages if the decision is made to change the policy
manual.

Related bugs:
* #607209 : request-tracker3.8 got caught out by this
* #324922 : cron ignores files whose name contain a period (with rationale)

[1] http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-opersys.html#s9.5
[2] http://www.debian.org/doc/maint-guide/ch-dother.en.html#s-crond

-- System Information:
Debian Release: squeeze/sid
  APT prefers testing
  APT policy: (500, 'testing'), (500, 'stable')
Architecture: i386 (i686)

Kernel: Linux 2.6.32-5-vserver-686 (SMP w/2 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=en_GB.ISO-8859-15, LC_CTYPE=en_GB.ISO-8859-15 (charmap=ISO-8859-15)
hell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/bash



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