Not installing changelogs in 11.04

Matt Zimmerman mdz at
Mon Nov 8 12:47:40 GMT 2010


This came up in #debian-ubuntu on FreeNode today, where a couple of people
raised concerns about the decision to stop shipping changelogs in .debs (in
order to recover much-needed space on installation media).  I've attached an
IRC log with some of the discussion.

There seem to be two concerns:

1. (mainly Zack and Didier) Removing the changelogs is seen as removing attribution
for the work of Debian developers.

2. (mainly Gerfried and Colin) Removing the changelogs takes away an
important information resource from users, though this is mitigated by
providing a tool for downloading the changelogs on demand.

I realize this blueprint is already being implemented, but would appreciate
if we could discuss it a bit further and see if these concerns can be

I made two suggestions on IRC, neither of which are ideal:

A. Rather than removing the changelog entirely, strip it down to the most
recent entries (e.g. the current release cycle).  A quick estimate suggests
that this would eliminate 95% of the changelog, but would still attribute
recent work.  This doesn't address Colin's concern.

B. Rather than stripping the changelogs from .debs, they could be removed
from the livefs only.  This introduces an inconsistency, but preserves the
availability of the changelog in the .deb and for non-live installation
methods, and restores more of the attribution.

I understand there was more detailed discussion of this at UDS which I
missed, so I apologize if I'm digging up corpses here.  Given the concerns
expressed, even if we can't do better than the current plan, I think we
should probably try harder to communicate this decision and rationale within
Debian and Ubuntu.

 - mdz
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08-11-2010 10:26:26 OdyX: Hrm. I'm wondering about that "natty removes debian/changelog entries from binary packages". How do people feel wrt this ?
08-11-2010 10:27:00 OdyX: Okay, it allows some space gain, but I don't feel it as very respectful of Debian's work.
08-11-2010 10:29:25 geser: where did you read it? (/me is not as uptodate as I'd like to be)
08-11-2010 10:30:07 OdyX: geser: planet Debian
08-11-2010 10:32:48 zack: OdyX: personally, I agree with you, I felt pretty bad at reading it
08-11-2010 10:33:15 geser: does Debian have a live-cd too?
08-11-2010 10:33:22 OdyX: geser:
08-11-2010 10:34:23 OdyX: geser: afaik, Debian releases the Live CD alongside official releases (more or less)
08-11-2010 10:34:39 -!- Vivek!~Obadiah at has joined #debian-ubuntu
08-11-2010 10:34:55 Rhonda: OdyX: It's not only Debian's work, actually. The changelog is meant as a useful resource for people, only major stuff gets added into the NEWS file.
08-11-2010 10:35:31 geser: OdyX: do you know how the space issue got resolved for them? less packages?
08-11-2010 10:35:31 OdyX: Rhonda: yeah, that makes it feel even more sad.
08-11-2010 10:35:53 OdyX: geser: nope.
08-11-2010 10:36:33 Rhonda: From what I read there was 25 MB somewhere mentioned.
08-11-2010 10:37:06 Rhonda: Which would be a bit more than 3%, if I calculated right.
08-11-2010 10:37:38 OdyX: it seems that the source of that is 
08-11-2010 10:37:38 Rhonda: I'm just glad that does seem to still be able to extract them.
08-11-2010 10:38:48 geser: OdyX: if I'm looking at the right directory then the desktop ones (KDE, Gnome, Lxde, xfce) are all above 700 MB for the iso
08-11-2010 10:39:13 OdyX: geser: ? which doesn't make them unsuitable for 1G USB keys :->
08-11-2010 10:40:21 geser: OdyX: true, but not for burning on an real CD (which Ubuntu is still trying to keep possible)
08-11-2010 10:41:09 OdyX: geser: you should ask dba on #debian-live 
08-11-2010 10:42:28 OdyX: btw, that "pkgbinarymangler" idea could be expanded within debhelper?
08-11-2010 10:42:42 OdyX: (compressing PNGs, reducing SVGs, etc.)
08-11-2010 10:43:03 OdyX: but as long as Debian keeps that "binary+source upload" motto, it'll be hard
08-11-2010 10:43:15 OdyX: (not that I object to it)
08-11-2010 10:46:19 geser: (if only the build logs for those uploaded debs would be available too)
08-11-2010 10:47:43 OdyX: geser: they are AFAIK: 
08-11-2010 10:48:20 OdyX: geser: you can find them by going from${source_package_name}/${package_version} there you have the links to the build logs 
08-11-2010 10:48:38 geser: OdyX: I mean in Debian
08-11-2010 10:49:01 OdyX: geser: :-$ Yeah, sorry.
08-11-2010 10:49:33 OdyX: geser: I am seduced by the "binary+source uploads, but rebuild" idea 
08-11-2010 10:50:06 geser: it happened occasionally that when I looked at a FTBFS in Ubuntu, I asked myself how it got build in Debian just to notice that it's an arch:all package with no build log in Debian
08-11-2010 10:50:06 OdyX: (this wouldn't mean you can't upload a wrong binary, but you ensure that all packages are buildd-built on all arches)
08-11-2010 10:50:25 OdyX: or sometimes an arch:any built in a non-clean chroot 
08-11-2010 11:06:08 -!- jelmer!~jelmer at has quit [Quit: Ex-Chat]
08-11-2010 11:06:28 -!- jelmer!~jelmer at has joined #debian-ubuntu
08-11-2010 11:34:10 -!- barry!~barry at has joined #debian-ubuntu
08-11-2010 11:34:43 -!- barry is now known as Guest168
08-11-2010 11:35:31 cjwatson: I can't say I'm hugely happy about the changelog.Debian.gz removal - I did object to it - but to be fair pitti is trying to mitigate it by working on things like an apt-changelog tool
08-11-2010 11:35:39 cjwatson: (which I guess aptitude users already had)
08-11-2010 11:40:14 -!- makl!~ximion at has joined #debian-ubuntu
08-11-2010 11:56:05 > mdz: cjwatson, was it discussed whether they could be removed from the livefs, but remain in the .debs?
08-11-2010 11:56:16 > mdz: a bit weird, I'll admit, but maybe a compromise
08-11-2010 12:01:03 cjwatson: mdz: I don't recall, check with pitti perhaps.  He was pretty gung-ho about removing the changelogs
08-11-2010 12:01:37 cjwatson: mdz: of course, that would have meant that they wouldn't be on the installed system when installed from the desktop CD, and I'm not hugely happy about that kind of discrepancy
08-11-2010 12:01:43 cjwatson: but I suppose it might be a reasonable compromise
08-11-2010 12:03:50 > mdz: cjwatson, another option would be to trim them down to only the current release cycle
08-11-2010 12:04:10 > mdz: I'll talk to pitti
08-11-2010 12:04:44 OdyX: mdz: nice. Please report back (here or elsewhere) if you can get something.
08-11-2010 12:06:40 cjwatson: mdz: we did discuss that part, and noted that many of the cases where you want a changelog involve searching further back than that (e.g. "did this feature change since the last LTS?")
08-11-2010 12:06:59 cjwatson: your "a bit weird" option is probably the one I'm least unhappy about

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