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Old 05-04-2010, 03:44 PM
Mehdi Dogguy
Default RFC: ubuntudiff.debian.net

Hi all,

Sometimes, I need to see what happens to my packages in Ubuntu. To see
quickly the changes of a given package, I open its PTS page, search for
the Ubuntu box, and then click on "Patches…".

I find this really painful and not really helpful when you want to inspect
a set of packages (but I do appreciate the work done on that). What I
really missed was a way to see quickly the list of changes for a given
package. The best way to see that is to extract from Ubuntu's changelog
only the relevant part.

I'm aware of other solutions like [0] and [-1] but they have the same
drawbacks as the Ubuntu box.

[0] http://people.debian.org/~bartm/borg/outdated.html : Utnubu provides
other kind of informations, but for other matters.

[-1] http://qa.ubuntuwire.org/multidistrotools/ : not really configurable…
e.g. they don't list changes for OCaml packages and I don't know how to
add that. In any case, it doesn't show the changelog diff.

So, I tried to come up with a solution and wrote a small program that
generates a nice website: http://ubuntudiff.debian.net

(In case you want to dig into the source code, the program that generates
the website is called Maddie and it's main source file and is "maddie.ml"…
yes, it's written in OCaml ).

So, to see Ubuntu differences wrt. to Debian, you have to write down a
grep-dctrl query¹ identifying the packages you're interested in and then
click on the "Search" button. In case you have a very simple query (using
a single filter), you can use the following shortcut:

- http://ubuntudiff.debian.net/q/package/linux-ntfs
- http://ubuntudiff.debian.net/q/maintainer/pkg-java
- or, http://ubuntudiff.debian.net/q/$field_name/$filter_argument

You can also perform quick "exact" queries by replacing the "q" by "x"
(like "-X" grep-dctrl's option):

- http://ubuntudiff.debian.net/x/package/linux-ntfs
- http://ubuntudiff.debian.net/x/maintainer/pkg-java
- or, http://ubuntudiff.debian.net/x/$field_name/$filter_argument

When it says "no changes found", it means that "no package satisfying the
query has changes in Ubuntu".

Maddie could also generate a static html page like:


That could be used (e.g.) within a team or for your own set of packages.

Now that I explained what it's about and how it works, I have a couple of

- Do you think that such a service is interesting?
- Do you have any ideas on how to improve the tool?
- Any other comments are also welcome…

(If you observe some bug, I'll be happy to fix it).

Possible integration with the PTS:

The links listed above could be added directly to the "Ubuntu" box. [1]
lists all modified packages that ubuntudiff is aware of, and can be used
to see if some changes are available and pick them from [2].

[1] http://ubuntudiff.debian.net/packages/list.txt
[2] http://ubuntudiff.debian.net/packages/$source_package.html

But, one could think of a tighter integration: You can imagine a big
"Ubuntu" box which shows all these informations like in the following example:


(Of course, that box would be visible *only* when there are changes).

Let me repeat slowly here:

It's only an idea. Don't scream too loud! Wait… wait… don't run away!

¹: Any empty query or a query containing ";" or "" or "/" or "&" or
--help (and similar) is nor processed.


Mehdi Dogguy مهدي الدڤي

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