Hi Ken and Edward,

On Thu, Jul 02, 2015 at 02:56:19PM -0500, Kenneth Pronovici wrote:
> I have been following the reproducible builds effort.  I appreciate
> you providing this patch.  However, I have some concerns with it.
> My main concern is that this patch adds some rather Debian-specific
> behavior to epydoc.  I'm not entirely comfortable with this, given
> that eypdoc is a general-purpose tool which just happens to be used
> when building some Debian packages.  Adding a new command-line switch
> is one thing, but changing behavior to respond silently to a
> environment variable feels different to me.  This would be the only
> environment variable that epydoc pays any attention to.

In our opinion it would be best if no timestamps were embedded at all
(by default), since they don't provide users any meaningful information.
But this makes it harder to convince upstreams to adopt it.
A slightly different behavior during package building (and in all other
cases having the old behavior) is probably easier to upstream.

> I skimmed through the comments in #787444, and I gather that help2man
> has added support for this environment variable. Are you filing
> similar bugs with other documentation-generator packages in Debian?
> Have other packages committed to supporting it?   Are you expecting
> this to become a standard used by other Linux distributions?

We only recently started experimenting with this, so until now
there are no other packages besides help2man supporting it.
Since today we have a modified debhelper in our experimental toolchain
repository which exports this variable.
Another patch was also submitted for txt2man (#790801), and more
patches for other documentation generators / toolchain packages
will be submitted in the future.
And yes, we hope that this will become a standard used also by
other distributions (that's why we chose a neutral name).

> It seems like relatively few Debian packages use epydoc as part of
> their build process.  I guess I'm questioning whether it's really
> worth adding this Debian-specific behavior just to avoid changing
> those packages.

In my opinions it's better to fix the root of the problems instead
of adapting each affected package.
And we hope that it won't remain something "Debian-specific".

> I'm not saying no, but I would like to get a better handle on some of
> these questions before I apply the patch and release a new package.
> I've also CC'd upstream (Edward Loper) to see if he has an opinion one
> way or the other.

Thanks for considering it! :)
We uploaded also a patched epydoc to our repository today and are
currently rebuilding affected packages [1]. The page should be
updated soon.

Kind regards,

[1]: https://reproducible.debian.net/issues/unstable/use_epydoc_issue.html

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