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glep 42 is your daddy

1 g2boojum 1.1 GLEP: 42
2     Title: Critical News Reporting
3 ciaranm 1.4 Version: $Revision: $
4 g2boojum 1.1 Author: Ciaran McCreesh <ciaranm@gentoo.org>
5 ciaranm 1.4 Last-Modified: $Date: $
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 ciaranm 1.6 Post-History: 1-Nov-2005, 5-Nov-2005, 7-Nov-2005, 11-Dec-2005, 13-Dec-2005, 18-Dec-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 ciaranm 1.4 Although most package updates are clean and require little user action,
22     occasionally an upgrade requires user intervention during the upgrade process.
23     Recent examples of the latter include the ``gcc-3.4`` stabilisation on ``x86``
24 ciaranm 1.5 and the ``mysql-4.1`` database format changes.
25 ciaranm 1.4
26     There are currently several ways of delivering important news items to our
27     users, none of them particularly effective:
28 g2boojum 1.1
29     * Gentoo Weekly News
30 ciaranm 1.4 * The ``gentoo-announce``, ``gentoo-user`` and ``gentoo-dev`` mailing lists
31 g2boojum 1.1 * The Gentoo Forums
32     * The main Gentoo website
33     * RSS feeds of Gentoo news
34 ciaranm 1.5 * ``einfo`` and ``ewarn`` messages in ``pkg_setup`` or ``pkg_postinst``
35 g2boojum 1.1
36     A more reliable way of getting news of critical updates out to users is required
37     to avoid repeats of the various recent upgrade debacles. This GLEP proposes a
38     solution based around pushing news items out to the user via the ``rsync`` tree.
39    
40 ciaranm 1.4 .. Important:: This GLEP does not seek to replace or modify ``einfo`` messages
41     which are displayed post-install. That is a separate issue which is handled
42     by ``elog`` [#bug-11359]_.
43    
44 g2boojum 1.1 Requirements
45     ============
46    
47     An adequate solution must meet all of the following requirements:
48    
49     Preemptive
50 ciaranm 1.4 Users should be told of changes *before* they break a system, not after the
51     damage has already been done. Ideally, the system administrator would be
52     given ample warning to plan difficult upgrades and changes, rather than only
53     being told just before action is necessary.
54 g2boojum 1.1
55     No user subscription required
56 ciaranm 1.4 It has already been demonstrated [#forums-apache2]_ that many users do not
57 g2boojum 1.1 read the ``gentoo-announce`` mailing list or ``RSS`` feeds. A solution which
58     requires subscription has no advantage over current methods.
59    
60     No user monitoring required
61 ciaranm 1.4 It has already been demonstrated [#forums-apache2]_ that many users do not
62 g2boojum 1.1 read news items posted to the Gentoo website, or do not read news items
63     until it is too late. A solution that relies upon active monitoring of a
64     particular source has no advantage over current methods.
65    
66     Relevant
67     System administrators who do not use a particular package should not have to
68     read news items which affect purely that package. Some news items may be of
69     relevance to most or all users, but those that are not should not be forced
70     upon users unnecessarily.
71    
72     Lightweight
73     It is not reasonable to expect all users to have an MTA, web browser, email
74     client, cron daemon or text processing suite available on their system.
75 ciaranm 1.4 Users must not be forced to install unreasonable extra software to be able
76     to read news items.
77 g2boojum 1.1
78     No privacy violations
79     Users of the solution should not be required to provide information about
80     their systems (for example, IP addresses or installed packages).
81    
82     Multiple delivery method support
83     Some users may wish to view news items via email, some via a terminal and
84     some via a web browser. A solution should either support all of these
85 ciaranm 1.4 methods or (better still) make it simple to write clients for displaying
86 g2boojum 1.1 news items in different ways.
87    
88     The following characteristics would be desirable:
89    
90     Internationalisable
91     Being able to provide messages in multiple languages may be beneficial.
92    
93     Quality control
94     There should be some way to ensure that badly written or irrelevant messages
95 ciaranm 1.4 are not sent out, for example by inexperienced developers or those whose
96     English language skills are below par.
97 g2boojum 1.1
98     Simple for developers
99     Posting news items should be as simple as is reasonably possible.
100    
101     Simple for users
102     Reading relevant news items should be as simple as is reasonably possible.
103    
104     Compatibility with existing and future news sources
105     A news system would ideally be able to be integrated with existing news
106     sources (for example, Forums, GWN, the main Gentoo website) without
107     excessive difficulty. Similarly, easy interoperation with any future news
108     sources should not be precluded.
109    
110     Specification
111     =============
112    
113     Overview
114     --------
115    
116     News items are published and delivered to users as follows:
117    
118 ciaranm 1.4 1. A news item is written. The format to be used is described below.
119    
120 g2boojum 1.1 2. The news item is reviewed, following the process described in
121     `News Item Quality Control`_.
122 ciaranm 1.4
123 g2boojum 1.1 3. The news item is committed to a CVS (or Subversion [#glep-36]_) repository.
124     From here, it is merged with the rsync tree. This is described in `News Item
125     Distribution`_.
126 ciaranm 1.4
127     4. Users fetch the news item when they sync. This ensures that the news items in
128 g2boojum 1.1 question are pushed to the user before the user accidentally makes an
129     unwanted change. No changes to the existing rsync process are required by
130     this GLEP.
131 ciaranm 1.4
132     5. The package manager filters the news item and, if it is relevant, marks the
133     news item for reading. The package manager should also display a notice
134     informing the user that there are unread news items.
135    
136     6. The news item is handled by the user's choice of news item reader. See `News
137 g2boojum 1.1 Item Clients`_.
138    
139 ciaranm 1.6 Required Portage Enhancements
140     -----------------------------
141    
142     The following extensions to Portage are required:
143    
144     TODO: ferringb wants spaces added to the first item on the list. I don't,
145     because it makes repo id -> filename mappings nasty.
146    
147     * Every repository (including overlays) will require a unique identifier. It is
148     assumed that an identifier will be a string consisting of characters from
149     ``a`` to ``z``, ``A`` to ``Z``, ``0`` to ``9``, ``+`` (plus), ``-`` (hyphen),
150     ``:`` (colon) and ``_`` (underscore).
151    
152     * Portage must provide a way for external programs to obtain a list of all
153     repository identifiers for a given system. It is assumed that this will be in
154     the form of a ``portageq`` command (e.g. ``portageq get_repo_ids``).
155    
156     * Portage must provide a way for external programs to obtain the base path for
157     a repository with a given ID. It is assumed that this will be in the form of
158     a ``portageq`` command (e.g. ``portageq get_repo_root gentoo-x86``).
159    
160     * Portage must extend ``portageq has_version`` to support restrictions to a
161     given repository ID.
162    
163     * Portage must extend ``portageq`` to implement a command which returns whether
164     or not the profile used for a given repository ID matches a certain base path
165     (e.g. ``portageq profile_used default-linux/sparc/sparc64/2004.3 gentoo-x86``).
166    
167     These extensions are assumed during the following specification.
168    
169 ciaranm 1.4 News Item Identities
170     --------------------
171    
172     Each news item will have a unique identifier. This identifier will be in the
173     form ``yyyy-mm-dd-short-name``, where ``yyyy`` is the year (e.g. ``2005``),
174     ``mm`` is the month (``01`` through ``12``) and dd is the day of the month
175     (``01`` through ``31``). The ``short-name`` is a very short name describing the
176     news item (e.g. ``yoursql-updates``), consisting only of the characters ``a-z``,
177 ciaranm 1.6 ``0-9``, ``+`` (plus), ``:`` (colon), ``-`` (hyphen) and ``_`` (underscore).
178 ciaranm 1.4
179     News Item Directories
180 g2boojum 1.1 ---------------------
181    
182 ciaranm 1.4 Each news item will be represented by a directory whose name is the same as the
183     news item's identifier.
184    
185     The directory will contain a file named ``yyyy-mm-dd-short-name.en.txt``, which
186     contains the text of the news item, in English, in the format described below.
187    
188     If a news item is translated, other files named ``yyyy-mm-dd-short-name.xx.txt``
189     (where ``xx`` is the ISO 639 [#iso-639]_ two letter country code) will also be
190     provided. However, only the English version of a news item is authoritative.
191     This anglocentricity is justified by precedent [#glep-34]_.
192    
193     News Item Files
194     ---------------
195    
196     A news item file is a text file, encoded using UTF-8 [#rfc-3629]_ for
197     compatibility with and for the same reasons as existing Gentoo documentation
198     [#docs-policy]_ and the tree [#glep-31]_.
199 g2boojum 1.1
200 ciaranm 1.4 News items should be signed with a detached GPG signature: ::
201    
202     gpg --armour --detach-sign ????-??-??-*.??.txt
203    
204     A news item file's content will consist of an RFC 822 style header [#rfc-822]_
205 g2boojum 1.1 followed by the main body of the message as plain text. This GLEP defines
206 ciaranm 1.4 various optional and mandatory headers. Future GLEPs may propose new headers —
207 g2boojum 1.1 tools handling these news items must ignore any unrecognised header.
208    
209     News Item Headers
210     '''''''''''''''''
211    
212     The following headers describe the purpose and format of the news item:
213    
214     ``Title:``
215     A short (maximum 44 characters) descriptive title. Mandatory.
216 ciaranm 1.4
217 g2boojum 1.1 ``Author:``
218     Author's name and email address, in the form ``Real Name <email@address>``.
219 ciaranm 1.4 Mandatory; multiple author headers may be specified if appropriate.
220    
221 g2boojum 1.1 ``Translator:``
222 ciaranm 1.4 For translated news items, the translator's name and email address. Multiple
223     translator headers may be specified if appropriate.
224    
225 g2boojum 1.1 ``Content-Type:``
226     Must be ``text/plain``. Mandatory.
227 ciaranm 1.4
228 g2boojum 1.1 ``Posted:``
229 ciaranm 1.6 Date of posting, in ``yyyy-mm-dd`` format (e.g. 2005-12-18) for
230     compatibility with GLEP 45 [#glep-45]_. Mandatory.
231 ciaranm 1.4
232     ``Revision:``
233 g2boojum 1.1 Initially 1. Incremented every time a non-trivial change is made. Changes
234     which require a re-read of the news item should instead use a new news item
235 ciaranm 1.4 file. Mandatory.
236    
237 g2boojum 1.1 ``News-Item-Format:``
238     Must be ``1.0``. Future revisions to the format may increment the minor
239     number for backwards-compatible changes, or the major number for major
240     changes.
241    
242 ciaranm 1.4 The following headers are used for filtering:
243 g2boojum 1.1
244     ``Display-If-Installed:``
245     A dependency atom or simple package name (for example,
246     ``<dev-lang/php-5_alpha`` or ``net-www/apache``). If the user has the
247 ciaranm 1.6 package specified installed from the repository from which the news item was
248     obtained, the news item should be displayed.
249 g2boojum 1.1
250     ``Display-If-Keyword:``
251 ciaranm 1.4 A keyword [#glep-22]_ name, for example ``mips`` or ``x86-fbsd``. If the
252     user is on the keyword in question, the news item should be displayed.
253 g2boojum 1.1
254     ``Display-If-Profile:``
255 ciaranm 1.6 A profile path, for example ``default-linux/sparc/sparc64/server``. If the
256     user is using the exact profile in question, or a subprofile of this
257     profile, the news item should be displayed. This header may be used to
258 ciaranm 1.4 replace ``deprecated`` files in the future.
259    
260     .. Note:: When performing package moves, developers must also update any
261     relevant ``Display-If-Installed`` headers in news files.
262    
263     The algorithm used to determine whether a news item is 'relevant' is as
264     follows:
265    
266     * For each ``Display-If-`` header type which occurs at least once:
267    
268     + The news item is not relevant if none of the headers of this type are
269     successfully matched.
270    
271     * Otherwise the news item is relevant.
272    
273     In particular, if no ``Display-If-`` header is specified, a news item will be
274     relevant for all users.
275    
276     This algorithm was chosen because it makes conditions like "display this news
277     item for ``YourSQL`` users who are on ``sparc`` or ``x86-obsd`` relatively
278     simple to specify — it is believed that these kinds of condition are far more
279     likely to occur than "display this news item for people using ``YourSQL``, or
280     for people on ``sparc`` or ``x86-obsd``\" or "display these news items for
281     people who use ``YourSQL`` and who are on both ``sparc`` and ``x86-obsd``\".
282 g2boojum 1.1
283     News Item Body
284     ''''''''''''''
285    
286     The header section must be followed by a blank line, then the main body of the
287     text.
288    
289     The text body should be wrapped at 72 characters. No fancy formatting or tab
290 ciaranm 1.4 characters should be used — the news item may be being displayed directly to a
291 ciaranm 1.2 terminal. Paragraphs should be separated by a blank line.
292 g2boojum 1.1
293     Hyperlinks may be used to refer to further information (for example, an upgrade
294     guide). However, the main body of the news item should be descriptive and not
295     simply a "read this link" text. It is assumed that the user will have access to
296     a web browser *somewhere*, but not necessarily on the box which is being
297 ciaranm 1.4 administrated — this will be the case on may servers and routers, for example.
298 g2boojum 1.1
299     Example News Item
300     '''''''''''''''''
301    
302 ciaranm 1.4 `This hypothetical news item`__ could be used for an upgrade to the
303     ``YourSQL`` database format which breaks forward compatibility.
304 g2boojum 1.1
305 ciaranm 1.4 .. __: glep-0042-extras/example-news-item.txt
306 g2boojum 1.1
307     News Item Quality Control
308     -------------------------
309    
310     There have been complaints regarding the comprehensibility of some upgrade
311 ciaranm 1.4 notices and news items in the past. This is understandable — not every Gentoo
312     developer speaks English as a first language. However, for the sake of clarity,
313     professionalism and avoiding making us look like prats, it is important that any
314     language problems be corrected before inflicting a news item upon end users.
315    
316     Thus, at least 72 hours before a proposed news item is committed, it must be
317     posted to the ``gentoo-dev`` mailing list and ``Cc:``\ed to ``pr@gentoo.org``
318     (exceptions may be made in exceptional circumstances). Any complaints — for
319     example regarding wording, clarity or accuracy — **must** be addressed before
320     the news item goes live.
321    
322     .. Note:: A previous draft of this GLEP allowed news items to be sent to
323     ``gentoo-core`` instead of ``gentoo-dev``. It is possible that a situation
324     may arise where this will be necessary (for example, a security update which
325     must break backwards compatibility and which cannot be revealed to the public
326     before a given date).
327 g2boojum 1.1
328     News items must only be for **important** changes that may cause serious upgrade
329     or compatibility problems. Ordinary upgrade messages and non-critical news items
330     should remain in ``einfo`` notices. The importance of the message to its
331     intended audience should be justified with the proposal.
332    
333     .. Important:: The filtering system means that it is appropriate to send out
334     news items which are aimed at users of an uncommon package or architecture.
335     Thus, the justification should be in the form "this message is important to
336     YourSQL users because ...", not "YourSQL is important because ...".
337    
338     News Item Distribution
339     ----------------------
340    
341     Server Side
342     '''''''''''
343    
344 ciaranm 1.4 News items are to be made available via the standard rsync tree. This removes
345     any need for polling of a remote source.
346 g2boojum 1.1
347     A new repository will be created for news items. The type (CVS or Subversion),
348     location and access controls on this repository are beyond the scope of this
349     GLEP.
350    
351     .. Note:: A previous draft of this GLEP instead used the main ``gentoo-x86``
352     tree. This was changed following advice from Infrastructure
353     [#ramereth-repo]_. Both solutions have the same end result.
354    
355 ciaranm 1.4 This repository will contain directories named ``yyyy/mm/``, where ``yyyy`` is
356 g2boojum 1.1 the current year and ``mm`` is the current month number (01 for January through
357     12 for December). This separation will help keep news items more manageable.
358    
359     The contents of this repository will automatically be merged with the main rsync
360 ciaranm 1.4 tree, placing the items in a ``metadata/news/`` directory. The method used for
361     merging these items is beyond the scope of this GLEP — a similar setup is
362 g2boojum 1.1 already used for merging GLSAs into the rsync tree.
363    
364 ciaranm 1.4 The main rsync tree will **not** use the ``yyyy/mm/`` subdirectory layout.
365 g2boojum 1.1
366     Client Side
367     '''''''''''
368    
369 ciaranm 1.4 Whenever relevant unread news items are found, the package manager will create a
370 ciaranm 1.6 file named ``/var/lib/gentoo/news/news-repoid.unread`` (if it does not
371 ciaranm 1.5 already exist) and append the news item identifier (eg
372     ``2005-11-01-yoursql-updates``) on a new line.
373 ciaranm 1.4
374 g2boojum 1.1 Notification that new relevant news items will be displayed via the
375     ``emerge`` tool in a similar way to the existing "configuration files need
376     updating" messages:
377    
378     ::
379    
380     * Important: there are 5 unread news items.
381     * Type emerge --help news to learn how to read news files.
382    
383 ciaranm 1.4 Checks for new news messages should be displayed:
384 g2boojum 1.1
385 ciaranm 1.4 * After an ``emerge sync``
386     * After an ``emerge --pretend``
387     * Before an ``emerge <target>`` (which may also include a red warning message)
388 ciaranm 1.5 * Before an ``emerge --ask <target>`` sequence
389 ciaranm 1.4
390     The package manager may use a timestamp check file to avoid having to process
391     news items unnecessarily.
392    
393     The package manager must keep track of news items that have already been added
394     to the unread list to avoid repeatedly marking a deleted news item. This could
395 ciaranm 1.6 be handled via a ``news-repoid.skip`` file containing the IDs of news items that
396     have already been added to a ``news-repoid.unread`` file, but this method is not
397     required by this GLEP.
398 g2boojum 1.1
399     Users who really don't care about news items can use ``rsync_excludes`` to
400 ciaranm 1.4 filter out the ``metadata/news/`` directory.
401 g2boojum 1.1
402     News Item Clients
403     -----------------
404    
405 ciaranm 1.4 Once a news item is marked for reading, third party tools (or traditional core
406     Unix tools) can be used to display and view the news files.
407    
408 ciaranm 1.5 When a news item is read, its name should be removed from the
409 ciaranm 1.6 ``news-repoid.unread`` file. If a news client acts as an interactive reader
410     rather than a gateway, it should then add the name to a ``news-repoid.read``
411     file in the same directory with the same file format.
412 ciaranm 1.4
413     An ``eselect`` [#eselect]_ module shall be created as the 'suggested' display
414     tool; other display tools (for example, a news to email forwarder, which would
415     be ideal for users who sync on a ``cron``) are left as options for those who
416     desire them.
417 g2boojum 1.1
418     News Item Removal
419     -----------------
420    
421     News items can be removed (by removing the news file from the main tree) when
422     they are no longer relevant, if they are made obsolete by a future news item or
423     after a long period of time. This is the same as the method used for ``updates``
424     entries.
425    
426     Integration with Existing Systems
427     =================================
428    
429 ciaranm 1.4 It would be simple to convert these news items into the format used for news
430 g2boojum 1.1 items on the Gentoo website or posts for the ``gentoo-announce`` mailing list.
431    
432     There is an existing automated tool [#forums-glsa]_ for posting GLSAs to the
433     forums. A similar tool can be used for these news items.
434    
435     Backwards Compatibility
436     =======================
437    
438     Backwards compatibility is not a concern here. Existing tools will simply ignore
439     the ``news/`` directory.
440    
441     Reference Implementation
442     ========================
443    
444     Portage Code
445     ------------
446    
447     TODO
448    
449     Simple ``eselect`` News Client
450     ------------------------------
451    
452 ciaranm 1.4 TODO Removed until the exact format details are figured out.
453 g2boojum 1.1
454     Simple News to Mail Forwarder
455     -----------------------------
456    
457 ciaranm 1.4 TODO Removed until the exact format details are figured out.
458 g2boojum 1.1
459     Credits
460     =======
461    
462     The idea behind notifying users of news updates via Portage comes from Stuart
463     Herbert [#stuart-blog]_.
464    
465 ciaranm 1.4 Thanks to Lance Albertson, Stephen Bennett, Donnie Berkholz, Grant Goodyear,
466     Brian Harring, Dan Meltzer, Jason Stubbs, Paul de Vrieze and Alec Warner for
467     input. Some of the ideas presented here are theirs, others go completely
468     against their suggestions.
469    
470     Example Files
471     =============
472    
473     TODO Removed until the exact format details are figured out.
474 g2boojum 1.1
475     References
476     ==========
477    
478 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#bug-11359] Bugzilla Bug 11359
479     "[NEW FEATURE] pkg_postinst/pkg_preinst ewarn/einfo logging",
480     https://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=11359
481 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#docs-policy] Gentoo XML Guide, Daniel Robbins et al.,
482     http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/xml-guide.xml
483     .. [#eselect] eselect modular framework for configuration and
484     administration utilities,
485     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/eselect/index.xml
486     .. [#forums-glsa] Forums user GLSA,
487     http://forums.gentoo.org/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=55648
488 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#forums-apache2] Forums thread "Gentoo Apache2 Config Change Idiocy",
489 g2boojum 1.1 http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-384368.html
490     .. [#glep-22] GLEP 22: "New "keyword" system to incorporate various
491     userlands/kernels/archs", Grant Goodyear,
492     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0022.html
493     .. [#glep-31] GLEP 31: "Character Sets for Portage Tree Items", Ciaran
494     McCreesh,
495     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0031.html
496     .. [#glep-34] GLEP 34: "Per-Category metadata.xml Files", Ciaran McCreesh,
497     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0034.html
498     .. [#glep-36] GLEP 36: "Subversion/CVS for Gentoo Hosted Projects", Aaron
499     Walker,
500     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0036.html
501 ciaranm 1.6 .. [#glep-45] GLEP 45: "GLEP date format", Henrik Brix Andersen,
502     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0045.html
503 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#iso-639] ISO 639 "Code for the representation of names of languages"
504     .. [#ramereth-repo] "Re: [gentoo-dev] GLEP ??: Critical News Reporting", Lance
505     Albertson,
506     http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=gentoo-dev&m=113111585907703&w=2
507     .. [#rfc-822] RFC 822 "Standard for the format of ARPA Internet text messages"
508 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#rfc-3629] RFC 3629: "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646"
509     http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3629.txt
510 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#stuart-blog] "Favouring an automatic news mechanism", Stuart Herbert,
511     http://stu.gnqs.org/diary/gentoo.php/2005/10/28/favouring_an_automatic_news_mechanism
512    
513     Copyright
514     =========
515    
516     This document has been placed in the public domain.
517    
518     .. vim: set tw=80 fileencoding=utf-8 spell spelllang=en et :

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