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Old 10-01-2012, 01:25 PM
Michael Tautschnig
 
Default Comments+blank line in debian/control: Clarification in policy or MBF?

Hi,

While rebuilding our archive using pbuilder I noticed that all packages
build-depending on gnome-pkg-tools failed to build. That led me to filing
#684503, which I'll quote here for convenience:

| The file control.header ends with an empty blank line. As the contents of that
| file is prepended to debian/control for packages making using of
| gnome-pkg-tools, this results in
|
| <comments>
| <blank line>
| <actual debian/control contents>
|
| By policy, blank lines separate paragraphs, comments are discarded, so we end up
| with an empty first paragraph. Policy, however, requires that the *first*
| paragraph contains essential package information (Policy 5.2).
|
| The current setup breaks at least pbuilder's build-dependency parsing, which
| relies on this fact.
|
| If you believe that an empty first paragraph should not be considered a
| paragraph, please reassign to policy, asking for clarification that it's the
| *first non-empty* paragraph.

Ubuntu have fixed this bug in their version of gnome-pkg-tools already, but:

- the problem affects all packages *build-depending* on gnome-pkg-tools, thus
I'd actually have to do an MBF (it's more than 160 packages)
- some other packages also contain comments and a blank line before the actual
contents in debian/control (so at the very least I should be filing bugs
against these as well)
- it seems only pbuilder is really strict in its interpretation of policy here,
but effectively that means that all our other build infrastructure doing
parsing of debian/control is *not* policy-compliant

Taking a pragmatic position, it would be best to have policy acknowledge the
fact that empty paragraphs don't count, and get the parser in pbuilder fixed.

Opinions would be much appreciated.

Best,
Michael
 

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