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Re: [DEP-5] [patch] Syntax of the files.

Le Sat, Aug 14, 2010 at 10:16:34AM -0700, Russ Allbery a écrit :
> Ideally, though, you should be able to just reference
> the specification of the Debian control file format in Policy.  Any
> deficiencies in that specification that lead you to want to add additional
> information in DEP-5 for the general format should just be fixed in Policy
> so that anyone writing a Debian control file parser will be able to make
> use of them.

I still have a couple of worries about pointing to an external document for the
syntax, and with using Debian control file parsers in general:

1) The Policy may change independantly of the DEP.

I think that the DEP should indicate the version of the Policy it refers to,
not only in the – however improbable – case that a change is introduced to the
syntax of Debian control files, but also in case editorial changes of the
Policy modify the chapter or section number. Another workaround would be to
cite the section's title. 

2) The Policy does not describe the DEP syntax for escaping empty lines.

Policy §5.1 does not describe the mechanism of using a space plus a dot to
escape empty lines in field values, but we can not refer simply to §5.6.13
(Description) because the DEP-5 License field is verbatim, whereas the
debian/control Description filed requires an additional space to signal
verbatim sections.

[In the end, all this hassle of adding dots in License fields originates in the
fact that debian/control files also separate paragraphs with liens containing
space or tabs only… Why?]

3) License text will contain leading spaces.

In debian/control's Description field, the field value keeps the leading
space of the line, but the description is later wrapped again unless an
extra space signals a verbatim section.

In DEP-5's License fields, the text formatting would be lost if we word-wrapped
the field value. Therefore, if strictly following the Debian control file
format, license texts will contain an extra space, which is not a problem but
is not elegant.

I wonder if we would better describe for each field what extra processing is to
be done on its value (when needed).

Lastly, a minor clarification about a confusion that I introduced.

> >  * In Debian control files, a succession of two empty lines ends the
> >    machine-parseable record. I am not sure we want this for DEP-5…
> I believe we do want this.
> > Also, it does not mention double-empty line as a record terminator.
> Yes, it does.  The second sentence of Policy 5.1, and also the
> second-to-last paragraph.

I thought I remembered from other disucssions that two consecutive empty lines
would terminate the whole file, and I was referring to this, not to the
separation between paragraphs with one blank line. I can not find a reference,
and experience with debian/control shows that two consecutive empty lines have
no special effect. Sorry for the noise.

Have a nice Sunday,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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