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

Rashif Ray Rahman schiv at archlinux.org
Thu Oct 25 15:00:00 EDT 2012

On 26 October 2012 01:23, Xyne <xyne at archlinux.ca> wrote:
> 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.
> Regards,
> Xyne

I think Xyne touched on this a little bit but the only issue I see
here is really just an invasion of stylistic choices in the absence of
a proper style guideline (which has also been discussed a number of
times without results).

Whenever editing someone else's PKGBUILD I always take care to not
mess with the "cosmetic" stuff. Language (desc), I may try to make
better (not really something a script should be changing in the first
place), but not coding style (I leave indents, bracing and quoting
variables alone).

Not directed particularly at Alexander or anyone (his intentions were
definitely pure), just holler next time you see a chance for a mass
edit of minor things. This was just a mistake, so don't be discouraged


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