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Bug#620566: dpkg: "version number does not start with digit" is in contrast to policy

Russ Allbery wrote:

> I think this is an interesting conversation, but so far as I can tell it's
> not particularly relevant to Policy.  There are no such packages with
> those version numbers currently in Debian, so Policy can simply say that
> there will never be in the future either and be done with it.
> There is a remaining issue for out-of-archive packages, but I think that's
> between maintainers of those packages and the dpkg maintainers about what
> dpkg may support beyond what Debian requires.

What about previously-in-archive packages?  And what about higher-level
packaging tools --- what document describes their contract with dpkg[1]?

It is relevant to policy because the proposed change in policy and its
implementation would have fallout.  It is worth considering whether
policy can do something to mitigate that, or at least whether there is
_some_ avenue in the Debian project to prevent this damage.


[1] Perhaps that contract can be informal.  It was not my impression
that that was the direction Guillem wants to go in (hence the dpkg bug
that sprouted this report in the first place) but I could easily be

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