Debian Weekly News - email

Much more mail here that is usual; the list archives are partially broken.

Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 13:47:46 +0200
From: Richard Braakman <>
Subject: Preparing for first test cycle

Will it be possible to stage the first Test Cycle on or near May 2nd?
That's two weeks from now.

It means that May 2nd is the last day I make any change to potato, except
for changes needed specifically to get working boot-floppies and Cd images
for it.  There will be a few days to get those right.

After a fixed-length testing period we will evaluate the results
and decide whether or not to release what we have.

Richard Braakman

Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 17:41:55 -0400
From: Wichert Akkerman <>
Subject: dpkg code status update

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A status update for the people who are wondering what will happen
with dpkg in woody.

The following changes have already been made in CVS:

* .changes format updated to have separate Changed-By and Maintainer
  fields. Changed-By is last person who modified the package as listed
  in debian/changelog, and Maintainer is the actual maintainer as listed
  in debian/control
* dpkg-deb modified to reorder files when building a package. This means
  you no longer have to create symlinks after their targets, and makes
  it possible to build packages on filesystems with different dirent
  behaviour such as reiserfs.
* Use objdump instead of ldd to get the list of libraries a binary uses
* Portability updates. Except for use of ENOENT in perl scripts dpkg builds
  on hurd without changes now. The ENOENT problems are a bug in perl-base
  which has been filed months ago.
* dpkg:UpstreamVersion and dpkg:Version substitution variables can be
  used in control and changes files

The following are on the todo list and are likely to happen for woody:
* signatures in packages
* retry removing directories after removing conffiles
* support Enhances in dselect, verify if it works in dpkg
* logging of actions
* integrate suidmanager
* integrate debconf
* allow versioned provides in dpkg & dselect
(these are in reasonably random order)

There are more entries on the todo-list in the source. Some might get
implemented on time for woody, other might not. If you want to see them
happen in woody please submit a patch otherwise they will probably not
make it.


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From: Wichert Akkerman <>
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 20:50:45 -0400
Subject: Documentation registry

I've been thinking a bit about how documentation is registered
in Debian currently, and it seems like we are doing it the wrong
way. Currently there are a couple of ways to register documentation:

* call install-info
* use a doc-base template and call install-docs
* put a .dhelp file in the documentation-directory

I feel we should choose one single way to register documentation and use
that for all packages. The current doc-base registry seems like a good
way of doing it. However it has a couple of problems:

* the way it handles frontends like dhelp and dwww is broken, it needs to
  do something more like update-menus does.
* it doesn't handle translations

I think we should do something like this:
* all packages register their documentation in a registration-file which
  they insert in /usr/share/doc-registry/
* the registrion-file lists the title, author, abstract and different
  formats in which a document is available. It can lists this for
  multiple languages if needed.
* packages call a tool called update-docs in the postinst and postrm.
* package which implement a frontend for documentations can put a
  documentation method in /etc/doc-methods/.

For the format for the regstration file XML looks like a good strategy.
Using its LANG-tag we can easily support multiple languages, we there
are good XML parsers available for all scripting and most other
languages. It would look something like this:

    <name>Julian Seward</name>
  <title>bzip and libzip2: a program and library for data compression</title>
  <title lang=NL>bzip en libzip2: programma en routines for data
  <format type=html>
  <format type=postscript>
  <format type=postscript lang=NL>
  <format type=texinfo>
  <format type=texinfo lang=NL>


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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.