CDBS and upstream changelogs

Pär Andersson paran at
Tue Sep 2 10:57:10 UTC 2008


I recently discovered a missing upstream changelog in a package, and after 
some confusion I found that it was caused by CDBS. Here is the relevant CDBS 

cdbs (0.4.49ubuntu3) hardy; urgency=low
  * Do not install upstream changelogs by default. They are
    huge and thus waste a lot of archive and CD space, quite uninteresting for
    ordinary users, and easy to get by downloading the source package or
    visiting the upstream page pointed out in copyright.

As this change was made intentionally I send this here instead of reporting it 
as a bug.

I realize that I am probably not the mentioned "ordinary user". However I do 
find it very annoying to have to manually download huge source packages just 
to read what have changed in a newly installed version of a package. That is 
if I even realize that the package is built using CDBS, and I therefore 
should not expect the normal changelog.gz.

This is from the Debian Policy Manual, 12.7 Changelog files:
If an upstream changelog is available, it should be accessible 
as /usr/share/doc/package/changelog.gz in plain text. If the upstream 
changelog is distributed in HTML, it should be made available in that form 
as /usr/share/doc/package/changelog.html.gz and a plain text changelog.gz 
should be generated from it using, for example, lynx -dump -nolist. If the 
upstream changelog files do not already conform to this naming convention, 
then this may be achieved either by renaming the files, or by adding a 
symbolic link, at the maintainer's discretion.[93]

So disabling CDBS automatic handling of this looks like an obvious policy 
violation to me. It also introduces hidden changes in Ubuntu compared to 
Debian, as CDBS built packages synced from Debian to Ubuntu will miss 
documentation files compared to the package in Debian.

How much space does this really save on the CDs?


Pär Andersson
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