Marking packages as not based on debian

Reinhard Tartler siretart at
Fri Dec 15 22:36:28 GMT 2006

The last meeting, a side discussion happened. The question was about
packages, which do exist in debian, but we don't consider debian as the
merge base. In this case, we can save a lot of trouble by clearly saying
this in the source package. Therefore I propose introducing the
'XS-Source-Origin' field in debian/control. User-defined fields are
supported by debian policy §5.7. Here an example how this could look
like for the mplayer package:

Source: mplayer
Section: graphics
Priority: extra
Maintainer: Ubuntu MOTU Media Team <motumedia at>
Standards-Version: 3.6.2
Build-Depends: debhelper (>> 3), libncurses5-dev, libesd0-dev, liblircclient-dev, libgtk2.0-dev, libvorbis-dev, libsdl1.2-dev, sharutils, libasound2-dev (>= 1.0.1), liblzo-dev, gawk, libjpeg62-dev, libaudiofile-dev, libsmbclient-dev, libxv-dev, libpng3-dev, libungif4-dev, libcdparanoia0-dev, libxvidcore4-dev, libdv-dev, liblivemedia-dev (>= 2004.05.01), libfreetype6-dev, em8300-headers, libgl1-mesa-dev | libgl-dev, libdvdread-dev, libdts-dev, libtheora-dev, libglu1-mesa-dev | libglu-dev, libartsc0-dev, libfontconfig-dev, libxxf86dga-dev, libxinerama-dev, libxxf86vm-dev, liblame-dev, libxvmc-dev, libggi2-dev, ttf-bitstream-vera, libmpcdec-dev, libspeex-dev, libfribidi-dev, libfaac-dev, sed (>= 4.0), libaa1-dev, libcaca-dev, libx264-dev (>= 1:0.cvs20060720)

Package: mplayer
Architecture: any

You see that the first paragraph was appended with the URL of the
package on which this package is based. I propose that the content of
this field is either and URL specifying the location where this source
originated. If the package was packaged originally in ubuntu, I'd
suggest placing the magic string 'ubuntu' here like this:

XS-Source-Origin: ubuntu

Please note that this is only needed if there is a package with the same
name in debian, which we do NOT consider as merge source. Examples for
such packages include: wine, gajim, mplayer and perhaps (many) more!

This technique is used BTW by python packages as well for specifying the
supported python version (Field XS-Python-Versions). The effect of
XS-Source-Origin is that the field Source-Origin gets in the .dsc
file and in the output of apt-cache show $pkg, and we can use the tool
grep-dctrl to filter those package. I expect that MoM can be instructed
to ignore package with this field.

Thanks for your attention.

Reinhard Tartler, KeyID 945348A4
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