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Re: Working on debian developer's reference and "best packaging practices"

On Fri, May 03, 2002 at 08:02:50PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> If the dpkg authors would like to hand off some of their design decisions
> to -policy on a generalised basis, I'm sure they'd say so. It seems a bit,
> well, wrong-headed for -policy to be trying to take control of dpkg though.

Quite: IMHO discussion is about where the documentation should be
found, not about the maintenance or control of dpkg!  The dpkg
developers do a great job, and I have much respect for them.

> >  since potentially large numbers of
> >  packages would be impacted by such changes.
> The dpkg maintainers are well aware of the likely impact of their changes,
> and are quite able to ask for advice when it's needed.
> I'm concerned about this because when I tried passing over
> "release-critical policy issues" to the policy group, it didn't work. Not
> only did everyone regularly and frequently lose track of what the point of
> "must versus should" was, but people just weren't very good at knowing
> when to choose which. Which is fine: we tried an experiment, it didn't
> work out how we'd hope, let's move on. But let's not just repeat the
> same mistake when there's no reason to do so.

Strawman (to quote lots of others).  As a concept, it's very good, but
as we discovered, the implementation was poor.  My suggestion for a
policy rewrite it to move to the standard RFC uses of MUST and SHOULD,
and indication RC-ness in an orthogonal way.  I think this will make
life easier for everyone, and I have no problems at all with the
Release Manager dictating what he considers to be RC for this
particular release.

> Further, considering that everyone seems to think that the -policy
> group have done pretty poorly at their actual job -- maintaining
> the policy document so that it's readable, consistent and useful --
> it doesn't seem like a good idea to broaden its scope. Rewriting it
> into something comprehensible, making the already approved of changes,
> and merging all the subpolicies (at least debconf, perl, and python)
> is likely to be more than enough work for the forseeable future.

Thanks.  Appreciated.  We need to rewrite policy, and have known this
for absolutely ages, but when it absorbed the old packaging manual, it
introduced the contradictions (oops).  I vaguely recall that at that
time, a freeze was effectively placed on substantially rewriting
policy because of the upcoming freeze of woody.  We are still in this
freeze period, and both Manoj and I are itching to rewrite the current
spaghetti which is called policy.



      Julian Gilbey, Dept of Maths, Queen Mary, Univ. of London
              website: http://www.maths.qmul.ac.uk/~jdg/
   Debian GNU/Linux Developer, see: http://people.debian.org/~jdg/
     Visit http://www.thehungersite.com/ to help feed the hungry

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