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Misc developer news (#9)

Raphael Hertzog has collected yet another selection of Debian news items from the developers.
The news are collected on
Feel free to contribute.

Advice on quilt usage and compatibility with new source format

To prepare a future switch to the “3.0 (quilt)” source package format, I
tried to convert the whole archive and to rebuild the packages
afterwards. This resulted in lots of improvements on dpkg-source as I
adapted the code to make it support many of the existing build setups but
not all problems could be fixed on the dpkg-source side. I filed a bunch
of bugs[1] for packages that need additional changes. To ensure
compatibility with the new source format, please try to follow the
guidelines below.

For packages already using quilt:
* Make sure that all patches apply with -p1 (and not -p0). This is the
default in quilt but some manually imported patches are only applicable
with -p0 (and this option is forced in the series file). This can be done
with quilt refresh (more on this below (*)).
* Make sure that the quilt patches don't modify/create/delete files
within the debian directory.
* Make sure that the .diff.gz doesn't contain cruft related to
auto-generated/updated files (like config.guess/sub, see #482716[2] to
avoid this). The upstream changes in the .diff.gz are like a new patch at
the end of the quilt series. It must be possible to unapply it during
“debian/rules clean” and to reapply it just before “debian/rules build”.
* Don't hand-edit patches. If you do it nevertheless, please “quilt
refresh” them to ensure that the various offsets in the patches are
* Store the patches in debian/patches/ and the series file as
* Don't override the location of the “.pc” directory.
* Don't reinvent rules to apply/unapply patches, but rely on
/usr/share/quilt/quilt.make that you can include from debian/rules.
* If you use CDBS, use /usr/share/cdbs/1/rules/ but
don't change the top level source directory with DEB_SRCDIR (or change it
but apply patches from the top-level directory anyway by setting

For other packages:
* Don't keep the quilt series file if you stopped using quilt in your
source package.
* Avoid tarball in tarball, dpkg-source can't apply patches if the
source files are not available directly after extraction of the .orig

(*) Use this small recipe to refresh all the patches. This will ensure
they are fully correct and will be applicable with “patch -p1″.

quilt pop -a; while quilt push; do quilt refresh -p1; done

Note that you can also use quilt refresh -pab if you prefer fake
top-level directory names (those have the advantage not to change when
the directory name changes. Directories for source package typically have
the upstream version embedded).

— Raphaël Hertzog


update-grub starts using UUIDs by default

Latest versions of update-grub (0.97-40 in GRUB Legacy and
1.96+20080601-2 in GRUB 2) start using filesystem UUIDs by default.
Although only GRUB 2 uses them internally for fetching its own files,
both of them detect the UUID of your root filesystem and pass that to
Linux in the “root” parameter.

In GRUB Legacy, this change affects only generation of “kopt” parameter
when no previous menu.lst existed. If you have an existing menu.lst and
are only updating it, your kopt will remain unmodified. Since this means
only new installs will be affected, it would be preferable if existing
installs explicitly tested this functionality by renaming menu.lst and
re-running update-grub, so that serious problems (if any exists) can be
detected in time before the freeze.

— Robert Millan

wxwidgets2.8 upload to unstable

Adeodato Simó recently uploaded wxwidgets2.8[3] to unstable. This is a
long requested update, but package maintainers are encouraged to be
conservative about using it: Only packages that don't work with
wxwidgets2.6[4] should use the new version, stability and new bug issues
are expected to happen when switching too fast. This is also the reason
behind the decision to keep wxwindows2.6 as default for Lenny[5]. Testing
with the new widgetset for such applications that still would work with
wxwindows2.6 should happen in private or experimental before decisions
are done.

— Gerfried Fuchs


Volunteers needed to handle update of release notes

Frans Pop has acted as the lead editor for the Sarge and Etch release
notes but recently resigned from this task[6]. For the Lenny release
notes a new team of editors is needed, but so far no one has stepped up
to work on that. This is a good opportunity for non-developers to help
while working in close coordination with the release team. Feel free to
join and start acting on the open bugs[7].

— Raphael Hertzog


– Raphaël Hertzog Le best-seller français mis à jour pour Debian Etch :

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