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1 g2boojum 1.1 GLEP: 42
2     Title: Critical News Reporting
3 ciaranm 1.3 Version: $Revision: 1.2 $
4 g2boojum 1.1 Author: Ciaran McCreesh <ciaranm@gentoo.org>
5 ciaranm 1.3 Last-Modified: $Date: 2005/11/07 17:02:42 $
6 g2boojum 1.1 Status: Draft
7     Type: Standards Track
8     Content-Type: text/x-rst
9 ciaranm 1.3 Created: 31-Oct-2005
10     Post-History: 1-Nov-2005, 5-Nov-2005
11 g2boojum 1.1
12     Abstract
13     ========
14    
15     This GLEP proposes a new way of informing users about important updates and news
16     regarding tree-related items.
17    
18     Motivation
19     ==========
20    
21     There are currently several ways of getting news out to our users, none of them
22     particularly effective:
23    
24     * Gentoo Weekly News
25     * The ``gentoo-announce`` mailing list
26     * The Gentoo Forums
27     * The main Gentoo website
28     * RSS feeds of Gentoo news
29    
30     A more reliable way of getting news of critical updates out to users is required
31     to avoid repeats of the various recent upgrade debacles. This GLEP proposes a
32     solution based around pushing news items out to the user via the ``rsync`` tree.
33    
34     Requirements
35     ============
36    
37     An adequate solution must meet all of the following requirements:
38    
39     Preemptive
40     Users should be told of changes *before* they break the user's system,
41 ciaranm 1.2 not after the damage has already been done.
42 g2boojum 1.1
43     No user subscription required
44     It has already been demonstrated [#forums-whining]_ that many users do not
45     read the ``gentoo-announce`` mailing list or ``RSS`` feeds. A solution which
46     requires subscription has no advantage over current methods.
47    
48     No user monitoring required
49     It has already been demonstrated [#forums-whining]_ that many users do not
50     read news items posted to the Gentoo website, or do not read news items
51     until it is too late. A solution that relies upon active monitoring of a
52     particular source has no advantage over current methods.
53    
54     Relevant
55     System administrators who do not use a particular package should not have to
56     read news items which affect purely that package. Some news items may be of
57     relevance to most or all users, but those that are not should not be forced
58     upon users unnecessarily.
59    
60     Lightweight
61     It is not reasonable to expect all users to have an MTA, web browser, email
62     client, cron daemon or text processing suite available on their system.
63    
64     No privacy violations
65     Users of the solution should not be required to provide information about
66     their systems (for example, IP addresses or installed packages).
67    
68     Multiple delivery method support
69     Some users may wish to view news items via email, some via a terminal and
70     some via a web browser. A solution should either support all of these
71     methods or (better still) make it trivial to write clients for displaying
72     news items in different ways.
73    
74     The following characteristics would be desirable:
75    
76     Internationalisable
77     Being able to provide messages in multiple languages may be beneficial.
78    
79     Quality control
80     There should be some way to ensure that badly written or irrelevant messages
81     are not sent out, for example by inexperienced developers, those whose
82     English language skills are below par or morons.
83    
84     Simple for developers
85     Posting news items should be as simple as is reasonably possible.
86    
87     Simple for users
88     Reading relevant news items should be as simple as is reasonably possible.
89    
90     Compatibility with existing and future news sources
91     A news system would ideally be able to be integrated with existing news
92     sources (for example, Forums, GWN, the main Gentoo website) without
93     excessive difficulty. Similarly, easy interoperation with any future news
94     sources should not be precluded.
95    
96     Specification
97     =============
98    
99     Overview
100     --------
101    
102     News items are published and delivered to users as follows:
103    
104     1. A news item is written. The format to be used is described in
105     `News Item File Format`_.
106     2. The news item is reviewed, following the process described in
107     `News Item Quality Control`_.
108     3. The news item is committed to a CVS (or Subversion [#glep-36]_) repository.
109     From here, it is merged with the rsync tree. This is described in `News Item
110     Distribution`_.
111     4. The news item is merged with the rsync tree. Implementation details of this
112     point are beyond the scope of this GLEP; existing solutions are in place
113     for merging GLSAs to the tree.
114     5. Users fetch the news item when they sync. This ensures that the news items in
115     question are pushed to the user before the user accidentally makes an
116     unwanted change. No changes to the existing rsync process are required by
117     this GLEP.
118     6. Portage filters the news item and, if it is relevant, installs it in a
119     special location to be read by a news item reader. Messages are also
120     displayed to inform the user that news is available.
121     7. The news item is handled by the user's choice of news item reader. See `News
122     Item Clients`_.
123    
124     News Item File Format
125     ---------------------
126    
127     Each news item will be represented by a single text file. This file will be
128     encoded using UTF-8 for compatibility with and for the same reason as existing
129     Gentoo documentation [#docs-policy]_ and tree [#glep-31]_ practices.
130    
131     The news item will be named in the form ``yyyy-mm-dd-item-name.en.txt``, where
132     ``item-name`` is a very short name (e.g. ``apache-updates``) and ``en`` is the
133     two letter ISO 639 [#iso-639]_ language code for the news item. The short name
134     must consist only of characters ``a-z``, ``A-Z``, ``0-9`` and ``-`` (hyphen).
135    
136     News items may be signed using GPG. If this is done, a detached signature should
137     be used.
138    
139     The directory and file name rules are designed specifically to allow easy
140     sorting by date.
141    
142     An English (``en``) version must be available for all news items. Other
143     languages may be provided either by the original author or by other translators
144     who have commit access. This anglocentricity is justified on the grounds that
145     nobody objected to it with GLEP 34 [#glep-34]_.
146    
147     A news item's content will consist of an RFC 822 [#rfc-822]_ style header
148     followed by the main body of the message as plain text. This GLEP defines
149     various optional and mandatory headers. Future GLEPs may propose new headers --
150     tools handling these news items must ignore any unrecognised header.
151    
152     News Item Headers
153     '''''''''''''''''
154    
155     The following headers describe the purpose and format of the news item:
156    
157     ``Title:``
158     A short (maximum 44 characters) descriptive title. Mandatory.
159     ``Author:``
160     Author's name and email address, in the form ``Real Name <email@address>``.
161     Mandatory, multiple author fields may be specified if appropriate.
162     ``Translator:``
163     For translated news items, the translator's name and email address.
164     ``Content-Type:``
165     Must be ``text/plain``. Mandatory.
166     ``Posted:``
167     Date of posting, in ``dd-mmm-yyyy`` format (e.g. 14-Aug-2001). UTC time in
168     ``hh-mm-ss +0000`` format may also be included. This field is mandatory.
169     ``Version:``
170     Initially 1. Incremented every time a non-trivial change is made. Changes
171     which require a re-read of the news item should instead use a new news item
172     file.
173     ``News-Item-Format:``
174     Must be ``1.0``. Future revisions to the format may increment the minor
175     number for backwards-compatible changes, or the major number for major
176     changes.
177    
178     The following headers are used for filtering. If none of these headers are
179     specified, the news item is displayed for all users. Otherwise, the news item is
180     displayed if *at least one* header matches.
181    
182     ``Display-If-Installed:``
183     A dependency atom or simple package name (for example,
184     ``<dev-lang/php-5_alpha`` or ``net-www/apache``). If the user has the
185     package specified installed, the news item should be displayed.
186    
187     ``Display-If-Keyword:``
188     A keyword [#glep-22]_ name, for example ``mips``. If the user is on the arch
189     in question, the news item should be displayed.
190    
191     ``Display-If-Profile:``
192     A profile path, for example ``default-linux/sparc/sparc64/server``. If the
193     user is using the exact profile in question, the news item should be
194     displayed. This header may be used to replace ``deprecated`` files in the
195     future.
196    
197     News Item Body
198     ''''''''''''''
199    
200     The header section must be followed by a blank line, then the main body of the
201     text.
202    
203     The text body should be wrapped at 72 characters. No fancy formatting or tab
204     characters should be used -- the news item may be being displayed directly to a
205 ciaranm 1.2 terminal. Paragraphs should be separated by a blank line.
206 g2boojum 1.1
207     Hyperlinks may be used to refer to further information (for example, an upgrade
208     guide). However, the main body of the news item should be descriptive and not
209     simply a "read this link" text. It is assumed that the user will have access to
210     a web browser *somewhere*, but not necessarily on the box which is being
211     administrated -- this will be the case on may servers and routers, for example.
212    
213     Example News Item
214     '''''''''''''''''
215    
216     The following hypothetical news item could be used for an upgrade to the
217     ``YourSQL`` database format which breaks forward compatibility. It should be
218     named ``2005-11/2005-11-01-yoursql-upgrades.en.txt``.
219    
220     ::
221    
222     Title: YourSQL Upgrades from 4.0 to 4.1
223     Author: Ciaran McCreesh <ciaranm@gentoo.org>
224     Content-Type: text/plain
225     Posted: 01-Nov-2005
226     Display-If-Installed: <dev-db/yoursql-4.1_alpha
227    
228     YourSQL databases created using YourSQL version 4.0 are incompatible
229     with YourSQL version 4.1 or later. There is no reliable way to
230     automate the database format conversion, so action from the system
231     administrator is required before an upgrade can take place.
232    
233     Please see the Gentoo YourSQL Upgrade Guide for instructions:
234    
235     http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/yoursql-upgrading.xml
236    
237     Also see the official YourSQL documentation:
238    
239     http://dev.yoursql.com/doc/refman/4.1/en/upgrading-from-4-0.html
240    
241     After upgrading, you should also recompile any packages which link
242     against YourSQL:
243    
244     revdep-rebuild --library=libyoursqlclient.so.12
245    
246     The revdep-rebuild tool is provided by app-portage/gentoolkit.
247    
248     News Item Quality Control
249     -------------------------
250    
251     There have been complaints regarding the comprehensibility of some upgrade
252     notices and news items in the past. This is understandable -- not every Gentoo
253     developer speaks English as a first language. However, for the sake of clarity
254     and professionalism it is important that any language problems be corrected
255     before inflicting a news item upon end users.
256    
257     Thus, all proposed news items must be posted to the ``gentoo-dev`` or
258     ``gentoo-core`` mailing list, and ``Cc:``\ed to ``pr@gentoo.org`` at least 72
259     hours before being committed (exceptions may be made in exceptional
260     circumstances). Any complaints regarding wording or clarity **must** be
261     addressed before the news item goes live.
262    
263     News items must only be for **important** changes that may cause serious upgrade
264     or compatibility problems. Ordinary upgrade messages and non-critical news items
265     should remain in ``einfo`` notices. The importance of the message to its
266     intended audience should be justified with the proposal.
267    
268     .. Important:: The filtering system means that it is appropriate to send out
269     news items which are aimed at users of an uncommon package or architecture.
270     Thus, the justification should be in the form "this message is important to
271     YourSQL users because ...", not "YourSQL is important because ...".
272    
273     News Item Distribution
274     ----------------------
275    
276     Server Side
277     '''''''''''
278    
279     News items are to be made available via the Portage tree. This removes any
280     need for polling of a remote source.
281    
282     A new repository will be created for news items. The type (CVS or Subversion),
283     location and access controls on this repository are beyond the scope of this
284     GLEP.
285    
286     .. Note:: A previous draft of this GLEP instead used the main ``gentoo-x86``
287     tree. This was changed following advice from Infrastructure
288     [#ramereth-repo]_. Both solutions have the same end result.
289    
290     This repository will contain directories named ``yyyy-mm/``, where ``yyyy`` is
291     the current year and ``mm`` is the current month number (01 for January through
292     12 for December). This separation will help keep news items more manageable.
293    
294     The contents of this repository will automatically be merged with the main rsync
295     tree, placing the items under a top-level ``news/`` directory. The method used
296     for merging these items is beyond the scope of this GLEP -- a similar setup is
297     already used for merging GLSAs into the rsync tree.
298    
299     .. Note:: The ``profiles/`` directory will *not* be used. This fits in with
300     the Portage team's future plans for ``profiles/`` and ``metadata/``
301     separation.
302    
303     Client Side
304     '''''''''''
305    
306     Whenever relevant unread news items are found, ``emerge`` will copy or symlink
307     the news file into ``/var/lib/gentoo/news/``.
308    
309     Notification that new relevant news items will be displayed via the
310     ``emerge`` tool in a similar way to the existing "configuration files need
311     updating" messages:
312    
313     ::
314    
315     * Important: 3 config files in /etc need updating.
316     * Type emerge --help config to learn how to update config files.
317    
318     * Important: there are 5 unread news items.
319     * Type emerge --help news to learn how to read news files.
320    
321     The unread news message will also be displayed immediately after an
322     ``emerge sync``.
323    
324     Portage may also warn of unread news items using, for example, a red flashy
325     before actions such as merging a package.
326    
327     Portage must keep track of news items which have already been installed to avoid
328     repeatedly reinstalling a deleted news item.
329    
330     Users who really don't care about news items can use ``rsync_excludes`` to
331     filter out the ``news/`` directory.
332    
333     News Item Clients
334     -----------------
335    
336     Once a news item is 'installed', third party tools (or a traditional Unix pager
337     and ``rm``) can be used to display and view the news files. An ``eselect``
338     [#eselect]_ module shall be created as the 'suggested' display tool; other
339     display tools (for example, a news to email forwarder, which would be ideal for
340     users who sync on a cron) are left as options for those who desire them -- the
341     simple file format make this relatively simple.
342    
343     News Item Removal
344     -----------------
345    
346     News items can be removed (by removing the news file from the main tree) when
347     they are no longer relevant, if they are made obsolete by a future news item or
348     after a long period of time. This is the same as the method used for ``updates``
349     entries.
350    
351     Integration with Existing Systems
352     =================================
353    
354     It would be trivial to convert these news items into the format used for news
355     items on the Gentoo website or posts for the ``gentoo-announce`` mailing list.
356    
357     There is an existing automated tool [#forums-glsa]_ for posting GLSAs to the
358     forums. A similar tool can be used for these news items.
359    
360     Backwards Compatibility
361     =======================
362    
363     Backwards compatibility is not a concern here. Existing tools will simply ignore
364     the ``news/`` directory.
365    
366     Reference Implementation
367     ========================
368    
369     Portage Code
370     ------------
371    
372     TODO
373    
374     Simple ``eselect`` News Client
375     ------------------------------
376    
377     A demonstration ``eselect`` news display script follows:
378    
379     ::
380    
381     # Copyright 1999-2005 Gentoo Foundation
382     # Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2
383 ciaranm 1.3 # $Id: glep-0042.txt,v 1.2 2005/11/07 17:02:42 ciaranm Exp $
384 g2boojum 1.1
385     DESCRIPTION="Read important Gentoo news items"
386     MAINTAINER="ciaranm@gentoo.org"
387 ciaranm 1.3 SVN_DATE='$Date: 2005/11/07 17:02:42 $'
388 g2boojum 1.1 VERSION=$(svn_date_to_version "${SVN_DATE}" )
389    
390     get_news_item_list() {
391     [[ -d "${ROOT}/var/lib/gentoo/news" ]] || return
392     (
393     local news
394     for news in "${ROOT}/var/lib/gentoo/news/"*.txt ; do
395     echo $(basename ${news%%.*} )
396     done
397     ) | sort -u
398     }
399    
400     get_filename() {
401     local best_lang=${LANG%%_*} lang= filename="${1}"
402     [[ -e "/${filename}" ]] || for lang in "${best_lang}" "en" ; do
403     filename="${ROOT}/var/lib/gentoo/news/${1}.${lang}.txt"
404     [[ -e "${filename}" ]] && break
405     done
406     [[ -e "${filename}" ]] && echo "${filename}" || die -q "Can't find '${1}'"
407     }
408    
409     get_all_filenames() {
410     if [[ -z "${1}" ]] ; then
411     echo "${ROOT}/var/lib/gentoo/news/"*.??".txt"
412     else
413     echo "${ROOT}/var/lib/gentoo/news/${1}."??".txt"
414     fi
415     }
416    
417     get_headers() {
418     sed -e '/^$/Q' < $(get_filename "${1}" )
419     }
420    
421     get_body() {
422     sed -e '1,/^$/d' < $(get_filename "${1}" )
423     }
424    
425     get_title() {
426     get_headers "${1}" | sed -n -e '/^[Tt]itle: /s/^[^:]\+:[ \t]*//p'
427     }
428    
429     ### list action
430    
431     ## {{{ list stuff
432     describe_list() {
433     echo "List available news items"
434     }
435    
436     do_list() {
437     write_list_start "Available news items:"
438     local empty=yes n=1
439     for news in $(get_news_item_list ) ; do
440     write_numbered_list_entry ${n} "$(highlight $(get_title ${news} ) ) (${news})"
441     n=$(( n + 1 ))
442     done
443     }
444     ## }}}
445    
446     ## {{{ show stuff
447     describe_show(){
448     echo "Show a news item"
449     }
450    
451     do_show() {
452     [[ -z "${1}" ]] && die -q "You didn't tell me which news item to read"
453    
454     local target=${1} filename=
455     if is_number "${target}" && [[ ${target} -ge 1 ]] ; then
456     targets=( $(get_news_item_list ) )
457     target=${targets[$(( ${target} - 1 ))]}
458     fi
459    
460     (
461     get_headers "${target}" | grep -v '^Display-If-\|Content-Type:'
462     echo
463     get_body "${target}"
464     ) | ${PAGER:-cat}
465     }
466     ## }}}
467    
468     # {{{ delete stuff
469     describe_delete() {
470     echo "Delete a news item"
471     }
472    
473     do_delete() {
474     [[ -z "${1}" ]] && die -q "You didn't tell me which news item to delete"
475    
476     for target in $@ ; do
477     if is_number "${target}" && [[ ${target} -ge 1 ]] ; then
478     targets=( $(get_news_item_list ) )
479     target=${targets[$(( ${target} - 1 ))]}
480     fi
481    
482     rm $(get_all_filenames "${target}" ) || die -q "Couldn't delete ${target}"
483     done
484     }
485     # }}}
486    
487     # {{{ delete-all
488     describe_delete-all() {
489     echo "Delete all news items"
490     }
491    
492     do_delete-all() {
493     rm $(get_all_filenames ) || die -q "Couldn't delete news items"
494     }
495     # }}}
496    
497     Simple News to Mail Forwarder
498     -----------------------------
499    
500     A demonstration shell script which delivers news items via email follows:
501    
502     ::
503    
504     #!/bin/bash
505    
506     to_address="root@localhost"
507     mail="mailx"
508     best_lang="${LANG%%_*}"
509    
510     for news in /var/lib/gentoo/news/*.*.txt ; do
511     [[ -z "${best_lang}" ]] || news="${news%%.*}.${best_lang}.txt"
512     [[ -f "${news}" ]] || news="${news%%.*}.en.txt"
513     [[ -f "${news}" ]] || continue
514     title=$(sed -n -e '/^Title:/ { s,^[^:]\+:[ \t]\+,,p ; q }' < ${news} )
515     sed -e '1,/^$/ { /^Display-If\|Content-Type/d }' < "${news}" | \
516     ${mail} -s "Gentoo news: ${title}" "${to_address}" && \
517     for file in ${news%%.*}.*.txt ; do rm "${file}" ; done
518     done
519    
520     Credits
521     =======
522    
523     The idea behind notifying users of news updates via Portage comes from Stuart
524     Herbert [#stuart-blog]_.
525    
526     Thanks to Lance Albertson, Donnie Berkholz, Grant Goodyear, Brian Harring, Dan
527     Meltzer, Paul de Vrieze and Alec Warner for input. Some of the ideas presented
528     here are theirs, others go completely against their suggestions.
529    
530     References
531     ==========
532    
533     .. [#docs-policy] Gentoo XML Guide, Daniel Robbins et al.,
534     http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/xml-guide.xml
535     .. [#eselect] eselect modular framework for configuration and
536     administration utilities,
537     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/eselect/index.xml
538     .. [#forums-glsa] Forums user GLSA,
539     http://forums.gentoo.org/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=55648
540     .. [#forums-whining] Forums thread "Gentoo Apache2 Config Change Idiocy",
541     http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-384368.html
542     .. [#glep-22] GLEP 22: "New "keyword" system to incorporate various
543     userlands/kernels/archs", Grant Goodyear,
544     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0022.html
545     .. [#glep-31] GLEP 31: "Character Sets for Portage Tree Items", Ciaran
546     McCreesh,
547     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0031.html
548     .. [#glep-34] GLEP 34: "Per-Category metadata.xml Files", Ciaran McCreesh,
549     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0034.html
550     .. [#glep-36] GLEP 36: "Subversion/CVS for Gentoo Hosted Projects", Aaron
551     Walker,
552     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0036.html
553     .. [#iso-639] ISO 639 "Code for the representation of names of languages"
554     .. [#ramereth-repo] "Re: [gentoo-dev] GLEP ??: Critical News Reporting", Lance
555     Albertson,
556     http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=gentoo-dev&m=113111585907703&w=2
557     .. [#rfc-822] RFC 822 "Standard for the format of ARPA Internet text messages"
558     .. [#stuart-blog] "Favouring an automatic news mechanism", Stuart Herbert,
559     http://stu.gnqs.org/diary/gentoo.php/2005/10/28/favouring_an_automatic_news_mechanism
560    
561     Copyright
562     =========
563    
564     This document has been placed in the public domain.
565    
566     .. vim: set tw=80 fileencoding=utf-8 spell spelllang=en et :

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