Your message dated Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:44:51 -0700
with message-id <>
and subject line Closing inactive Policy bugs
has caused the Debian Bug report #541872,
regarding debian-policy: identical notation for disabled-by-user and 
auto-generated entries in /etc/inetd.conf
to be marked as done.

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--- Begin Message ---
Package: debian-policy
Severity: normal

Hello policy makers :)

update-inetd is seriously bug infested, IMHO to some extent because of the
issue below.

Policy 11.2 says:

    If a package wants to install an example entry into `/etc/inetd.conf', the
    entry must be preceded with exactly one hash character (`#').  Such lines
    are treated as "commented out by user" by the `update-inetd' script and
    are not changed or activated during package updates.
    [presumably, "not changed" here implies also "not deleted"]

Effectively this means that we cannot distinguish between two entirely
different things: local-admin-policy and examples generated by postinst
maintainer scripts.

Now how does this lead to bugs? Say I install ftp-daemon-a, which adds an
example entry to /etc/inetd.conf, and then I uninstall the package.  The
example entry will survive the package's removal (even if prerm calls
update-inetd, it won't be removed because it's indistinguishable from

Then I decide to install ftp-daemon-b. If the package's postinst calls
update-inetd to enable the new service, the new entry won't be added because
it's apparently local-admin-policy that ftp should be disabled.

A potential fix would be to prescribe that example entries added by maintainer
scripts are preceded with '#<example># ' (to be consistent with '#<off># '
which is what update-inetd uses by default to denote disabled entries).


-- System Information:
Debian Release: squeeze/sid
  APT prefers unstable
  APT policy: (100, 'unstable'), (1, 'experimental')
Architecture: i386 (i686)

Kernel: Linux 2.6.26-1-686 (SMP w/2 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=en_GB.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=el_GR.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/dash

debian-policy depends on no packages.

debian-policy recommends no packages.

Versions of packages debian-policy suggests:
pn  doc-base                      <none>     (no description available)

-- no debconf information

--- End Message ---
--- Begin Message ---
control: user
control: usertag -1 +obsolete
control: tag -1 +wontfix

Russ Allbery and I did a round of in-person bug triage at DebConf17 and
we are closing this bug as inactive.

The reasons for closing fall into the following categories, from most
frequent to least frequent:

- issue is appropriate for Policy, there is a consensus on how to fix
  the problem, but preparing the patch is very time-consuming and no-one
  has volunteered to do it, and we do not judge the issue to be
  important enough to keep an open bug around;

- issue is appropriate for Policy but there does not yet exist a
  consensus on what should change, and no recent discussion.  A fresh
  discussion might allow us to reach consensus, and the messages in the
  old bug are unlikely to help very much; or

- issue is not appropriate for Policy.

If you feel this bug is still relevant and want to restart the
discussion, you can re-open the bug.  However, please consider instead
opening a new bug with a message that summarises and condenses the
previous discussion, updates the report for the current state of Debian,
and makes clear exactly what you think should change.

A lot of these old bugs have long side tangents and numerous messages,
and that old discussion is not necessarily helpful for figuring out what
Debian Policy should say today.

Sean Whitton

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