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

Jonathan Nieder <jrnieder@gmail.com> writes:

> What about previously-in-archive packages?

Are there any of significance?  The example you gave in your previous mail
doesn't appear in the BTS at all, so I assume it's quite old if it was
ever in the archive.

Raphael said that dpkg wouldn't break already-installed packages.  Policy
primarily applies to packages going forward, plus to references to those
packages in versioned dependencies and the like.

> And what about higher-level packaging tools --- what document describes
> their contract with dpkg[1]?

I don't know that we have one at the moment; regardless, it's not Policy.

> 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.

Your primary concern is having existing packages stop working because
tools drop support for version numbers that they currently support?  Would
adding a non-normative footnote to that effect help?  Something like:

    In previous versions of Policy, upstream version numbers beginning
    with alphabetic characters were allowed but discouraged (a "should
    not" instead of a "must not").  There may, therefore, be older Debian
    packages with upstream versions starting with an alphabetic character.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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