[arch-dev-public] Unannounced mass edit of community PKGBUILDs

Xyne xyne at archlinux.ca
Thu Oct 25 13:23:32 EDT 2012

Alexander Rødseth wrote:

>All that aside, would it be okay for you all if I removed "An ...", "A
>..." and "Application is ..." from the start of all package
>descriptions (and making the first letter an uppercase letter)? This
>adds no information to the description and (IMO) looks ugly. Just this
>change, no changes to indentation, trailing periods or quoting?
>Thanks for your understanding. May any distressed individuals find it
>in their hearts to let go of the outrage and search innner peace and

The lack of communication really is the key issue here. It is disrespectful to
other packagers to "improve" their packages this way. It is also dangerous to
have one dev or TU who thinks he knows best and who will push sweeping changes
without so much as a discussion about his intentions.

The other aspect is that this is stylistic. I have long argued that having
PKGBUILDs written in Bash is a mistake and that something uniform that is
perfectly and safely parsable would be much more preferable. That is, however,
not the current state of affairs. PKGBUILDs are Bash and syntactically the only
criterion is that they be valid Bash (in both the syntactic and the functional
sense). I agree that the proper use of quoting to handle all paths, overall
stylish consistency, etc., should be encouraged.

Single quotes make sense if nothing in the string requires interpolation, but
there is no reason to force it on people as it makes no different for the
functionality or legibility of the PKGBUILD, except in cases where the
difference is desired behavior. Let the packager decide.

For the package descriptions, that should be left up to the packager as well.
The description has no programmatic purpose. Its sole purpose is to provide
users with information. Sometimes a few words is enough, sometimes a full
sentence makes sense. The important thing is the information that it conveys to
the users, not the arbitrary aesthetic value that you attribute to it when
printed out alongside others in a terminal.

So, start a discussion about packaging guidelines. Use a script to find
PKGBUILDs that you would like to change and notify the maintainer. Don't
mass-update PKGBUILDs without telling anyone about it and then be surprised
that you upset some people. Good intentions or not, I find the lack of
consideration troubling.

Do not take the length of my reply to indicate that I am upset or angry. I
simply wanted to explain my own views on this as you do not seem to understand
why others consider this a bigger issue than you do.


More information about the arch-dev-public mailing list