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GLEP 42 updates

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 1.7 Post-History: 1-Nov-2005, 5-Nov-2005, 7-Nov-2005, 11-Dec-2005, 13-Dec-2005, 18-Dec-2005, 5-Jan-2006
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     * Every repository (including overlays) will require a unique identifier. It is
145     assumed that an identifier will be a string consisting of characters from
146 ciaranm 1.7 ``a`` to ``z``, ``A`` to ``Z``, ``0`` to ``9``, ``+`` (plus), ``-`` (hyphen)
147     ``_`` (underscore).
148 ciaranm 1.6
149     * Portage must provide a way for external programs to obtain a list of all
150     repository identifiers for a given system. It is assumed that this will be in
151     the form of a ``portageq`` command (e.g. ``portageq get_repo_ids``).
152    
153     * Portage must provide a way for external programs to obtain the base path for
154     a repository with a given ID. It is assumed that this will be in the form of
155     a ``portageq`` command (e.g. ``portageq get_repo_root gentoo-x86``).
156    
157     * Portage must extend ``portageq has_version`` to support restrictions to a
158     given repository ID.
159    
160     * Portage must extend ``portageq`` to implement a command which returns whether
161     or not the profile used for a given repository ID matches a certain base path
162     (e.g. ``portageq profile_used default-linux/sparc/sparc64/2004.3 gentoo-x86``).
163    
164     These extensions are assumed during the following specification.
165    
166 ciaranm 1.4 News Item Identities
167     --------------------
168    
169     Each news item will have a unique identifier. This identifier will be in the
170     form ``yyyy-mm-dd-short-name``, where ``yyyy`` is the year (e.g. ``2005``),
171     ``mm`` is the month (``01`` through ``12``) and dd is the day of the month
172     (``01`` through ``31``). The ``short-name`` is a very short name describing the
173     news item (e.g. ``yoursql-updates``), consisting only of the characters ``a-z``,
174 ciaranm 1.7 ``0-9``, ``+`` (plus), ``-`` (hyphen) and ``_`` (underscore).
175 ciaranm 1.4
176     News Item Directories
177 g2boojum 1.1 ---------------------
178    
179 ciaranm 1.4 Each news item will be represented by a directory whose name is the same as the
180     news item's identifier.
181    
182     The directory will contain a file named ``yyyy-mm-dd-short-name.en.txt``, which
183     contains the text of the news item, in English, in the format described below.
184    
185     If a news item is translated, other files named ``yyyy-mm-dd-short-name.xx.txt``
186     (where ``xx`` is the ISO 639 [#iso-639]_ two letter country code) will also be
187     provided. However, only the English version of a news item is authoritative.
188     This anglocentricity is justified by precedent [#glep-34]_.
189    
190     News Item Files
191     ---------------
192    
193     A news item file is a text file, encoded using UTF-8 [#rfc-3629]_ for
194     compatibility with and for the same reasons as existing Gentoo documentation
195     [#docs-policy]_ and the tree [#glep-31]_.
196 g2boojum 1.1
197 ciaranm 1.7 News items must be signed with a detached GPG signature.::
198 ciaranm 1.4
199     gpg --armour --detach-sign ????-??-??-*.??.txt
200    
201 ciaranm 1.7 This GLEP does not specify the type or strength of signature to be used, nor
202     does it discuss how, if at all, a centralised keychain will be provided. These
203     issues should be handled as part of the signing policy discussions.
204    
205 ciaranm 1.4 A news item file's content will consist of an RFC 822 style header [#rfc-822]_
206 g2boojum 1.1 followed by the main body of the message as plain text. This GLEP defines
207 ciaranm 1.4 various optional and mandatory headers. Future GLEPs may propose new headers —
208 g2boojum 1.1 tools handling these news items must ignore any unrecognised header.
209    
210     News Item Headers
211     '''''''''''''''''
212    
213     The following headers describe the purpose and format of the news item:
214    
215     ``Title:``
216     A short (maximum 44 characters) descriptive title. Mandatory.
217 ciaranm 1.4
218 g2boojum 1.1 ``Author:``
219     Author's name and email address, in the form ``Real Name <email@address>``.
220 ciaranm 1.4 Mandatory; multiple author headers may be specified if appropriate.
221    
222 g2boojum 1.1 ``Translator:``
223 ciaranm 1.4 For translated news items, the translator's name and email address. Multiple
224     translator headers may be specified if appropriate.
225    
226 g2boojum 1.1 ``Content-Type:``
227     Must be ``text/plain``. Mandatory.
228 ciaranm 1.4
229 g2boojum 1.1 ``Posted:``
230 ciaranm 1.6 Date of posting, in ``yyyy-mm-dd`` format (e.g. 2005-12-18) for
231     compatibility with GLEP 45 [#glep-45]_. Mandatory.
232 ciaranm 1.4
233     ``Revision:``
234 ciaranm 1.7 Initially 1. Should be incremented every time a change is made to the news
235     item. Changes that require a re-read of the news item (i.e., most changes
236     that are not spelling or formatting related) should instead use a new news
237     item. Mandatory.
238 ciaranm 1.4
239 g2boojum 1.1 ``News-Item-Format:``
240     Must be ``1.0``. Future revisions to the format may increment the minor
241     number for backwards-compatible changes, or the major number for major
242     changes.
243    
244 ciaranm 1.4 The following headers are used for filtering:
245 g2boojum 1.1
246     ``Display-If-Installed:``
247 ciaranm 1.7 A dependency atom (for example, ``<dev-lang/php-5_alpha`` or
248     ``net-www/apache``). If the user has the package specified installed from
249     the repository from which the news item was obtained, the news item should
250     be displayed.
251 g2boojum 1.1
252     ``Display-If-Keyword:``
253 ciaranm 1.4 A keyword [#glep-22]_ name, for example ``mips`` or ``x86-fbsd``. If the
254     user is on the keyword in question, the news item should be displayed.
255 g2boojum 1.1
256     ``Display-If-Profile:``
257 ciaranm 1.6 A profile path, for example ``default-linux/sparc/sparc64/server``. If the
258     user is using the exact profile in question, or a subprofile of this
259     profile, the news item should be displayed. This header may be used to
260 ciaranm 1.4 replace ``deprecated`` files in the future.
261    
262     .. Note:: When performing package moves, developers must also update any
263     relevant ``Display-If-Installed`` headers in news files.
264    
265     The algorithm used to determine whether a news item is 'relevant' is as
266     follows:
267    
268     * For each ``Display-If-`` header type which occurs at least once:
269    
270     + The news item is not relevant if none of the headers of this type are
271     successfully matched.
272    
273     * Otherwise the news item is relevant.
274    
275     In particular, if no ``Display-If-`` header is specified, a news item will be
276     relevant for all users.
277    
278     This algorithm was chosen because it makes conditions like "display this news
279     item for ``YourSQL`` users who are on ``sparc`` or ``x86-obsd`` relatively
280     simple to specify — it is believed that these kinds of condition are far more
281     likely to occur than "display this news item for people using ``YourSQL``, or
282     for people on ``sparc`` or ``x86-obsd``\" or "display these news items for
283     people who use ``YourSQL`` and who are on both ``sparc`` and ``x86-obsd``\".
284 g2boojum 1.1
285     News Item Body
286     ''''''''''''''
287    
288     The header section must be followed by a blank line, then the main body of the
289     text.
290    
291     The text body should be wrapped at 72 characters. No fancy formatting or tab
292 ciaranm 1.4 characters should be used — the news item may be being displayed directly to a
293 ciaranm 1.2 terminal. Paragraphs should be separated by a blank line.
294 g2boojum 1.1
295     Hyperlinks may be used to refer to further information (for example, an upgrade
296     guide). However, the main body of the news item should be descriptive and not
297     simply a "read this link" text. It is assumed that the user will have access to
298     a web browser *somewhere*, but not necessarily on the box which is being
299 ciaranm 1.7 administrated — this will be the case on many servers and routers, for example.
300 g2boojum 1.1
301     Example News Item
302     '''''''''''''''''
303    
304 ciaranm 1.4 `This hypothetical news item`__ could be used for an upgrade to the
305     ``YourSQL`` database format which breaks forward compatibility.
306 g2boojum 1.1
307 ciaranm 1.4 .. __: glep-0042-extras/example-news-item.txt
308 g2boojum 1.1
309     News Item Quality Control
310     -------------------------
311    
312     There have been complaints regarding the comprehensibility of some upgrade
313 ciaranm 1.4 notices and news items in the past. This is understandable — not every Gentoo
314     developer speaks English as a first language. However, for the sake of clarity,
315     professionalism and avoiding making us look like prats, it is important that any
316     language problems be corrected before inflicting a news item upon end users.
317    
318     Thus, at least 72 hours before a proposed news item is committed, it must be
319     posted to the ``gentoo-dev`` mailing list and ``Cc:``\ed to ``pr@gentoo.org``
320     (exceptions may be made in exceptional circumstances). Any complaints — for
321     example regarding wording, clarity or accuracy — **must** be addressed before
322     the news item goes live.
323    
324 g2boojum 1.1 News items must only be for **important** changes that may cause serious upgrade
325     or compatibility problems. Ordinary upgrade messages and non-critical news items
326     should remain in ``einfo`` notices. The importance of the message to its
327     intended audience should be justified with the proposal.
328    
329     .. Important:: The filtering system means that it is appropriate to send out
330     news items which are aimed at users of an uncommon package or architecture.
331     Thus, the justification should be in the form "this message is important to
332     YourSQL users because ...", not "YourSQL is important because ...".
333    
334     News Item Distribution
335     ----------------------
336    
337     Server Side
338     '''''''''''
339    
340 ciaranm 1.4 News items are to be made available via the standard rsync tree. This removes
341     any need for polling of a remote source.
342 g2boojum 1.1
343     A new repository will be created for news items. The type (CVS or Subversion),
344     location and access controls on this repository are beyond the scope of this
345     GLEP.
346    
347     .. Note:: A previous draft of this GLEP instead used the main ``gentoo-x86``
348     tree. This was changed following advice from Infrastructure
349     [#ramereth-repo]_. Both solutions have the same end result.
350    
351 ciaranm 1.4 This repository will contain directories named ``yyyy/mm/``, where ``yyyy`` is
352 g2boojum 1.1 the current year and ``mm`` is the current month number (01 for January through
353     12 for December). This separation will help keep news items more manageable.
354    
355     The contents of this repository will automatically be merged with the main rsync
356 ciaranm 1.4 tree, placing the items in a ``metadata/news/`` directory. The method used for
357 ciaranm 1.7 merging these items and the frequency at which it will occur is beyond the scope
358     of this GLEP; a similar setup is already used for merging GLSAs into the rsync
359     tree.
360    
361     The main rsync tree will **not** use the ``yyyy/mm/`` subdirectory layout. The
362     news item directories will all be immediately under the ``metadata/news/``
363     directory.
364 g2boojum 1.1
365     Client Side
366     '''''''''''
367    
368 ciaranm 1.4 Whenever relevant unread news items are found, the package manager will create a
369 ciaranm 1.7 file named ``/var/lib/gentoo/news/news-${repoid}.unread`` (if it does not
370 ciaranm 1.5 already exist) and append the news item identifier (eg
371     ``2005-11-01-yoursql-updates``) on a new line.
372 ciaranm 1.4
373 ciaranm 1.7 All news item related files should be root owned and in the ``portage`` group
374     with the group write (and, for directories, execute) bits set. News files should
375     be world readable.
376    
377 g2boojum 1.1 Notification that new relevant news items will be displayed via the
378     ``emerge`` tool in a similar way to the existing "configuration files need
379     updating" messages:
380    
381     ::
382    
383     * Important: there are 5 unread news items.
384     * Type emerge --help news to learn how to read news files.
385    
386 ciaranm 1.4 Checks for new news messages should be displayed:
387 g2boojum 1.1
388 ciaranm 1.4 * After an ``emerge sync``
389     * After an ``emerge --pretend``
390     * Before an ``emerge <target>`` (which may also include a red warning message)
391 ciaranm 1.7
392     The package manager does not need to know how to launch the user's choice of
393     news client. This is consistent with the way configuration file updates are
394     handled.
395 ciaranm 1.4
396     The package manager may use a timestamp check file to avoid having to process
397     news items unnecessarily.
398    
399     The package manager must keep track of news items that have already been added
400     to the unread list to avoid repeatedly marking a deleted news item. This could
401 ciaranm 1.7 be handled via a ``news-${repoid}.skip`` file containing the IDs of news items
402     that have already been added to a ``news-${repoid}.unread`` file, but this
403     method is not required by this GLEP.
404 g2boojum 1.1
405     Users who really don't care about news items can use ``rsync_excludes`` to
406 ciaranm 1.4 filter out the ``metadata/news/`` directory.
407 g2boojum 1.1
408     News Item Clients
409     -----------------
410    
411 ciaranm 1.4 Once a news item is marked for reading, third party tools (or traditional core
412     Unix tools) can be used to display and view the news files.
413    
414 ciaranm 1.5 When a news item is read, its name should be removed from the
415 ciaranm 1.6 ``news-repoid.unread`` file. If a news client acts as an interactive reader
416     rather than a gateway, it should then add the name to a ``news-repoid.read``
417     file in the same directory with the same file format.
418 ciaranm 1.4
419     An ``eselect`` [#eselect]_ module shall be created as the 'suggested' display
420     tool; other display tools (for example, a news to email forwarder, which would
421     be ideal for users who sync on a ``cron``) are left as options for those who
422     desire them.
423 g2boojum 1.1
424     News Item Removal
425     -----------------
426    
427     News items can be removed (by removing the news file from the main tree) when
428     they are no longer relevant, if they are made obsolete by a future news item or
429     after a long period of time. This is the same as the method used for ``updates``
430     entries.
431    
432     Integration with Existing Systems
433     =================================
434    
435 ciaranm 1.4 It would be simple to convert these news items into the format used for news
436 g2boojum 1.1 items on the Gentoo website or posts for the ``gentoo-announce`` mailing list.
437    
438     There is an existing automated tool [#forums-glsa]_ for posting GLSAs to the
439     forums. A similar tool can be used for these news items.
440    
441     Backwards Compatibility
442     =======================
443    
444     Backwards compatibility is not a concern here. Existing tools will simply ignore
445     the ``news/`` directory.
446    
447     Reference Implementation
448     ========================
449    
450     Portage Code
451     ------------
452    
453     TODO
454    
455     Simple ``eselect`` News Client
456     ------------------------------
457    
458 ciaranm 1.4 TODO Removed until the exact format details are figured out.
459 g2boojum 1.1
460     Simple News to Mail Forwarder
461     -----------------------------
462    
463 ciaranm 1.4 TODO Removed until the exact format details are figured out.
464 g2boojum 1.1
465     Credits
466     =======
467    
468     The idea behind notifying users of news updates via Portage comes from Stuart
469     Herbert [#stuart-blog]_.
470    
471 ciaranm 1.4 Thanks to Lance Albertson, Stephen Bennett, Donnie Berkholz, Grant Goodyear,
472 ciaranm 1.7 Brian Harring, Marius Mauch, Dan Meltzer, Jason Stubbs, Paul de Vrieze and Alec
473     Warner for input. Some of the ideas presented here are theirs, others go
474     completely against their suggestions.
475 ciaranm 1.4
476     Example Files
477     =============
478    
479     TODO Removed until the exact format details are figured out.
480 g2boojum 1.1
481     References
482     ==========
483    
484 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#bug-11359] Bugzilla Bug 11359
485     "[NEW FEATURE] pkg_postinst/pkg_preinst ewarn/einfo logging",
486     https://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=11359
487 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#docs-policy] Gentoo XML Guide, Daniel Robbins et al.,
488     http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/xml-guide.xml
489     .. [#eselect] eselect modular framework for configuration and
490     administration utilities,
491     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/eselect/index.xml
492     .. [#forums-glsa] Forums user GLSA,
493     http://forums.gentoo.org/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=55648
494 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#forums-apache2] Forums thread "Gentoo Apache2 Config Change Idiocy",
495 g2boojum 1.1 http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-384368.html
496     .. [#glep-22] GLEP 22: "New "keyword" system to incorporate various
497     userlands/kernels/archs", Grant Goodyear,
498     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0022.html
499     .. [#glep-31] GLEP 31: "Character Sets for Portage Tree Items", Ciaran
500     McCreesh,
501     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0031.html
502     .. [#glep-34] GLEP 34: "Per-Category metadata.xml Files", Ciaran McCreesh,
503     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0034.html
504     .. [#glep-36] GLEP 36: "Subversion/CVS for Gentoo Hosted Projects", Aaron
505     Walker,
506     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0036.html
507 ciaranm 1.6 .. [#glep-45] GLEP 45: "GLEP date format", Henrik Brix Andersen,
508     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0045.html
509 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#iso-639] ISO 639 "Code for the representation of names of languages"
510     .. [#ramereth-repo] "Re: [gentoo-dev] GLEP ??: Critical News Reporting", Lance
511     Albertson,
512     http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=gentoo-dev&m=113111585907703&w=2
513     .. [#rfc-822] RFC 822 "Standard for the format of ARPA Internet text messages"
514 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#rfc-3629] RFC 3629: "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646"
515     http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3629.txt
516 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#stuart-blog] "Favouring an automatic news mechanism", Stuart Herbert,
517     http://stu.gnqs.org/diary/gentoo.php/2005/10/28/favouring_an_automatic_news_mechanism
518    
519     Copyright
520     =========
521    
522     This document has been placed in the public domain.
523    
524     .. vim: set tw=80 fileencoding=utf-8 spell spelllang=en et :

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