[arch-dev-public] New ideas for notifying users about (minor) changes

Christian Rebischke Chris.Rebischke at archlinux.org
Mon Jul 29 22:47:44 UTC 2019

Hello everybody,
I got assigned to this issue here:


The users would like to have a notice in pre/post install/upgrade
notifications via pacman .install files.

I am not a fan of spamming such news via pacman and I think the
installation/upgrade process should be clean of such messages, but I
don't have access to the news tool on our website as well.

So what can we do here? I am a big fan of Gentoos Newsletter feature[1].
It would be super awesome if we would have a tool such like `archnews
<packagename>` to retrieve NEWS about a certain package from an
endpoint. This endpoint should be controllable by every maintainer (devs
and TUs included). I discussed this with coderobe a bit and we came to
different solutions:

Solution 1: a NEWS file inside of the package repository:

A maintainer could upload a `NEWS` file into the package repository and
then a client could grab this information directly via downloading the
file from:


+ every maintainer could control this NEWS file easily via our current
+ It's easy to download the NEWS files (we can expect new tools from the

- We bloat our repository

Solution 2: commit messages as NEWS

The maintainer could/should put such news into the latest commit

+ no extra file
+ using existing infrastructure
+ one workflow

- I need an actual change in the repository to create a new NEWS object
  (If we have a look on my example with strongswan, I would need to add
  something in the PKGBUILD to make a new commit to make a new NEWS
- It's more difficult to get with tools. The user needs to checkout the
  repository (in solution 1 it can be just a curl call)

Solution 3: A webapp on news.archlinux.org with a fancy UI

This solution would be the most work. We could have a new webapp (such
like our security tracker) just for NEWS objects. Every maintainer
should have access to their assigned packages.

+ Fancy
+ Easy to use
+ API endpoints

- A lot of work

I would go for solution 1. What would be interesting to know for me:

1. Do you think that we actually *need* such a tool?
2. Would you use such a tool/workflow?
3. Do you have other/better ideas?

I hope for an interesting constructive discussion.

Best regards


[1] https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Gentoo_Cheat_Sheet#Gentoo_Monthly_Newsletter_.28GMN.29
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