CDBS and upstream changelogs

Martin Pitt martin.pitt at
Tue Sep 2 13:48:22 UTC 2008

Pär Andersson [2008-09-02 12:57 +0200]:
> 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. 

We deliberately made this change in order to save several Megabytes on
the CDs, which are better spent for more useful things. You don't have
to download the entire source package, usually the upstream home pages
have an online accessible changelog.

Also, in many cases a summary of the interesting upstream changes are
echoed in the package changelog (debian/changelog).

> So disabling CDBS automatic handling of this looks like an obvious policy 
> violation to me.

I don't agree. Normal debhelper doesn't install upstream changelogs by
default either, and cdbs doesn't stop you from doing it, it just
doesn't do it by default (as in Debian).

> 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.

Right, that was the intention. Syncing a source package from Debian to
Ubuntu will cause a lot of other "hidden" changes, such as toolchain
hardening, translation stripping, gettext support for .desktop files,
and all that. The great thing about cdbs is that we can make those
changes centrally and document them there, instead of spreading them
over hundreds of source packages and constantly being inconsistent (of
course that doesn't apply to all packages which don't use cdbs).

> How much space does this really save on the CDs?

Back then, when we made the change, we rebuilt some 10 packages too
free several MB. It's difficult to measure the savings for all
packages using cdbs, but I guesstimate an magnitude of 10 MB.

Martin Pitt                        |
Ubuntu Developer (  | Debian Developer  (

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