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Re: [DEP5] [patch] Renaming the ‘Maintainer’ field ‘Contact’

Charles Plessy <plessy@debian.org> writes:

> The purpose of the ‘Maintainer’ field is to provide a contact address
> for the users of the software. But for some projects, the primary
> corresondance address is not necessarly the developer's email
> address. It can be a helpdesk, or a mailing list shared by multiple
> projects. In some rare cases, the users may be asked to use other
> communication media than email, for instance web forms.

Why are we storing a contact address in the debian/copyright file at all?

Policy 12.5 says:

    In addition, the copyright file must say where the upstream sources
    (if any) were obtained. It should name the original authors of the
    package and the Debian maintainer(s) who were involved with its

Nothing in there about a contact address.  (That last bit should also be
removed, since debian/changelog already records that information; I think
we have an open Policy bug about that.)

If we rename the field to anything, I think we should rename it to Author,
since that's what Policy says we're supposed to be recording, although for
most cases (not all) the Copyright field will satisfy this requirement.

Am I missing some other Debian document somewhere that says we should be
providing upstream contact information in debian/copyright?  I realize
that lots of people do this, but it's not at all clear to me that it makes
sense to put that information in debian/copyright as opposed to one of the
many other places we could store such information.  For example, upstream
usually provides much more complete contact information including
preferred methods of contact and related information, in a README file
that we would normally install with the package documentation.

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

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