DEP-5 meta: New co-driver; current issues
The effort to get a machine-readable format for debian/copyright
has been going on for some years now. I think it is time to get it
done. To help with this, I am joining Steve Langasek as a driver
The story so far, in a very rough summary:
* Various things are easier if debian/copyright can be parsed and
interpreted by software, rather than being free-form text. For
example, answering questions like "what stuff is GPLv2 only,
and therefore incompatible with GPLv3?".
* Started on the wiki in 2007, just over three years ago. Now
using the DEP process. Many people have participated in the
* Quite a number of packages already use some variant of the DEP-5
format. There's no goal to make using it mandatory, however.
(Compare with debhelper: almost all packages use it, but it's
* Most of the spec seems reasonably stable, some details need to be
It would be good to have DEP-5 done quite early in the squeeze+1
development cycle to give as much time as possible for adoption.
The current outstanding issues I am aware of:
* a "Comment" field would be good
* license shortnames/keywords: the set of keywords probably needs work,
and hopefully can be compatible with what other projects use; the
current thread on the meaning of "public domain" is part of this
* file globbing syntax
* clarify the text so it's clear DEP-5 won't require more precision
than is currently needed
If there's more issues, please raise them. I will be be starting
separate threads on the above topics later (in other words, please
don't discuss these topics in this thread, only the meta stuff).
My role as driver is not to make decisions, but to guide the
discussions, and update the DEP-5 document based on the consensus
of the discussions. In a bikeshedding situation, however, I will use
editorial control and pick a winner in order to guide the
discussion to more productive topics. (In other words, the more
you bikeshed, to more power I get.)
I am aiming for the following workflow:
* We discuss, on debian-project, whatever issues need discussing.
* I and Steve update the DEP-5 draft, and post a diff.
* If there is something else to discuss on that topic, we do that,
otherwise we move on to the next one.
It was just suggested we move the DEP-5 discussions off debian-project.
I think that would be a mistake. This is something that affects the
project as a whole, and should therefore be easy for the whole project
to follow, now and in the future via the list archives. If we keep
"DEP-5" in the subject, it'll be easy to filter away for those
uninterested. If we build DEP-5 outside the normal project structures,
we'll just have to re-discuss it when it's time to approve it, so it's
better to have the discussion just once.
Uh, this e-mail became longer than intended. Thanks for reading this
far. Let's get this thing done and out and finished and over with.