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 #610298,
regarding phasing out tar-in-tar in source packages
to be marked as done.

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Package: debian-policy
Severity: wishlist

tar-in-tar source packages, i.e. Debian source packages which contains upstream
sources in compressed form and uncompress them on the fly during the build
process, are a bit of a PITA. They are particularly so for tools who want to do
source code analyses on the code shipped by debian (e.g. the recently started
DACA project) but, more generally, violate a good faith assumption that
"apt-get source" will deliver an unpacked source package where the user can
grep through upstream source code.

I haven't conducted an analyses of the amount of tar-in-tar source packages in
the Debian archive (sorry about that), but per folklore it seems that there are
very few such packages remaining in the archive. I guess this is so because
tar-in-tar was mostly used to circumvent the lack of support for non-gzip
compression in source packages, feature which is now provided by 3.0 source

Considering all the above, it would be nice if policy could start to discourage
tar-in-tar, at least with a "should" (not) requirement. A potentially
appropriate place where to mention that seems to be §4.8 "Restrictions on
objects in source packages".

Thanks for considering and many thanks in advance,

PS en passant: appendix §C.3 seems to be out of date wrt source formats 3.0,
   but it's not normative, so it's not a big deal

-- System Information:
Debian Release: 6.0
  APT prefers unstable
  APT policy: (500, 'unstable'), (500, 'testing')
Architecture: amd64 (x86_64)

Kernel: Linux 2.6.32-5-amd64 (SMP w/2 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=it_IT.utf8, LC_CTYPE=it_IT.utf8 (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:
ii  doc-base                      0.9.5      utilities to manage online documen

-- 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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