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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 1.8 Post-History: 1-Nov-2005, 5-Nov-2005, 7-Nov-2005, 11-Dec-2005, 13-Dec-2005, 18-Dec-2005, 5-Jan-2006, 2-Mar-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 ciaranm 1.8 related to the tree.
17 g2boojum 1.1
18     Motivation
19     ==========
20    
21 ciaranm 1.4 Although most package updates are clean and require little user action,
22 ciaranm 1.8 occasionally an upgrade requires user intervention. Recent examples of the
23     latter include the ``gcc-3.4`` stabilisation on ``x86`` and the ``mysql-4.1``
24     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 ciaranm 1.8 to avoid repeats of various prior upgrade debacles. This GLEP proposes a
38 g2boojum 1.1 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 ciaranm 1.8 read the ``gentoo-announce`` mailing list or ``RSS`` feeds. A solution that
58 g2boojum 1.1 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 ciaranm 1.8 (where ``xx`` is the ISO 639 [#iso-639]_ two letter country code, and the date
187     remains the same as the original news item) will also be provided. However, only
188     the English version of a news item is authoritative. This anglocentricity is
189     justified by precedent [#glep-34]_.
190 ciaranm 1.4
191     News Item Files
192     ---------------
193    
194     A news item file is a text file, encoded using UTF-8 [#rfc-3629]_ for
195     compatibility with and for the same reasons as existing Gentoo documentation
196     [#docs-policy]_ and the tree [#glep-31]_.
197 g2boojum 1.1
198 ciaranm 1.7 News items must be signed with a detached GPG signature.::
199 ciaranm 1.4
200     gpg --armour --detach-sign ????-??-??-*.??.txt
201    
202 ciaranm 1.7 This GLEP does not specify the type or strength of signature to be used, nor
203     does it discuss how, if at all, a centralised keychain will be provided. These
204     issues should be handled as part of the signing policy discussions.
205    
206 ciaranm 1.4 A news item file's content will consist of an RFC 822 style header [#rfc-822]_
207 g2boojum 1.1 followed by the main body of the message as plain text. This GLEP defines
208 ciaranm 1.4 various optional and mandatory headers. Future GLEPs may propose new headers —
209 g2boojum 1.1 tools handling these news items must ignore any unrecognised header.
210    
211     News Item Headers
212     '''''''''''''''''
213    
214     The following headers describe the purpose and format of the news item:
215    
216     ``Title:``
217     A short (maximum 44 characters) descriptive title. Mandatory.
218 ciaranm 1.4
219 g2boojum 1.1 ``Author:``
220     Author's name and email address, in the form ``Real Name <email@address>``.
221 ciaranm 1.4 Mandatory; multiple author headers may be specified if appropriate.
222    
223 g2boojum 1.1 ``Translator:``
224 ciaranm 1.4 For translated news items, the translator's name and email address. Multiple
225     translator headers may be specified if appropriate.
226    
227 g2boojum 1.1 ``Content-Type:``
228     Must be ``text/plain``. Mandatory.
229 ciaranm 1.4
230 g2boojum 1.1 ``Posted:``
231 ciaranm 1.6 Date of posting, in ``yyyy-mm-dd`` format (e.g. 2005-12-18) for
232 ciaranm 1.8 compatibility with GLEP 45 [#glep-45]_. Translations should use the date
233     of the original news item. Mandatory.
234 ciaranm 1.4
235     ``Revision:``
236 ciaranm 1.7 Initially 1. Should be incremented every time a change is made to the news
237     item. Changes that require a re-read of the news item (i.e., most changes
238     that are not spelling or formatting related) should instead use a new news
239     item. Mandatory.
240 ciaranm 1.4
241 g2boojum 1.1 ``News-Item-Format:``
242     Must be ``1.0``. Future revisions to the format may increment the minor
243     number for backwards-compatible changes, or the major number for major
244     changes.
245    
246 ciaranm 1.4 The following headers are used for filtering:
247 g2boojum 1.1
248     ``Display-If-Installed:``
249 ciaranm 1.7 A dependency atom (for example, ``<dev-lang/php-5_alpha`` or
250     ``net-www/apache``). If the user has the package specified installed from
251     the repository from which the news item was obtained, the news item should
252     be displayed.
253 g2boojum 1.1
254     ``Display-If-Keyword:``
255 ciaranm 1.4 A keyword [#glep-22]_ name, for example ``mips`` or ``x86-fbsd``. If the
256     user is on the keyword in question, the news item should be displayed.
257 g2boojum 1.1
258     ``Display-If-Profile:``
259 ciaranm 1.6 A profile path, for example ``default-linux/sparc/sparc64/server``. If the
260     user is using the exact profile in question, or a subprofile of this
261     profile, the news item should be displayed. This header may be used to
262 ciaranm 1.4 replace ``deprecated`` files in the future.
263    
264     .. Note:: When performing package moves, developers must also update any
265     relevant ``Display-If-Installed`` headers in news files.
266    
267     The algorithm used to determine whether a news item is 'relevant' is as
268     follows:
269    
270     * For each ``Display-If-`` header type which occurs at least once:
271    
272     + The news item is not relevant if none of the headers of this type are
273     successfully matched.
274    
275     * Otherwise the news item is relevant.
276    
277     In particular, if no ``Display-If-`` header is specified, a news item will be
278     relevant for all users.
279    
280     This algorithm was chosen because it makes conditions like "display this news
281     item for ``YourSQL`` users who are on ``sparc`` or ``x86-obsd`` relatively
282     simple to specify — it is believed that these kinds of condition are far more
283     likely to occur than "display this news item for people using ``YourSQL``, or
284     for people on ``sparc`` or ``x86-obsd``\" or "display these news items for
285     people who use ``YourSQL`` and who are on both ``sparc`` and ``x86-obsd``\".
286 g2boojum 1.1
287     News Item Body
288     ''''''''''''''
289    
290     The header section must be followed by a blank line, then the main body of the
291     text.
292    
293     The text body should be wrapped at 72 characters. No fancy formatting or tab
294 ciaranm 1.4 characters should be used — the news item may be being displayed directly to a
295 ciaranm 1.2 terminal. Paragraphs should be separated by a blank line.
296 g2boojum 1.1
297     Hyperlinks may be used to refer to further information (for example, an upgrade
298     guide). However, the main body of the news item should be descriptive and not
299     simply a "read this link" text. It is assumed that the user will have access to
300     a web browser *somewhere*, but not necessarily on the box which is being
301 ciaranm 1.7 administrated — this will be the case on many servers and routers, for example.
302 g2boojum 1.1
303     Example News Item
304     '''''''''''''''''
305    
306 ciaranm 1.4 `This hypothetical news item`__ could be used for an upgrade to the
307     ``YourSQL`` database format which breaks forward compatibility.
308 g2boojum 1.1
309 ciaranm 1.4 .. __: glep-0042-extras/example-news-item.txt
310 g2boojum 1.1
311     News Item Quality Control
312     -------------------------
313    
314     There have been complaints regarding the comprehensibility of some upgrade
315 ciaranm 1.4 notices and news items in the past. This is understandable — not every Gentoo
316     developer speaks English as a first language. However, for the sake of clarity,
317     professionalism and avoiding making us look like prats, it is important that any
318     language problems be corrected before inflicting a news item upon end users.
319    
320     Thus, at least 72 hours before a proposed news item is committed, it must be
321     posted to the ``gentoo-dev`` mailing list and ``Cc:``\ed to ``pr@gentoo.org``
322     (exceptions may be made in exceptional circumstances). Any complaints — for
323     example regarding wording, clarity or accuracy — **must** be addressed before
324     the news item goes live.
325    
326 g2boojum 1.1 News items must only be for **important** changes that may cause serious upgrade
327     or compatibility problems. Ordinary upgrade messages and non-critical news items
328     should remain in ``einfo`` notices. The importance of the message to its
329     intended audience should be justified with the proposal.
330    
331     .. Important:: The filtering system means that it is appropriate to send out
332     news items which are aimed at users of an uncommon package or architecture.
333     Thus, the justification should be in the form "this message is important to
334     YourSQL users because ...", not "YourSQL is important because ...".
335    
336     News Item Distribution
337     ----------------------
338    
339     Server Side
340     '''''''''''
341    
342 ciaranm 1.4 News items are to be made available via the standard rsync tree. This removes
343     any need for polling of a remote source.
344 g2boojum 1.1
345     A new repository will be created for news items. The type (CVS or Subversion),
346     location and access controls on this repository are beyond the scope of this
347     GLEP.
348    
349     .. Note:: A previous draft of this GLEP instead used the main ``gentoo-x86``
350     tree. This was changed following advice from Infrastructure
351     [#ramereth-repo]_. Both solutions have the same end result.
352    
353 ciaranm 1.4 This repository will contain directories named ``yyyy/mm/``, where ``yyyy`` is
354 g2boojum 1.1 the current year and ``mm`` is the current month number (01 for January through
355     12 for December). This separation will help keep news items more manageable.
356    
357     The contents of this repository will automatically be merged with the main rsync
358 ciaranm 1.4 tree, placing the items in a ``metadata/news/`` directory. The method used for
359 ciaranm 1.7 merging these items and the frequency at which it will occur is beyond the scope
360     of this GLEP; a similar setup is already used for merging GLSAs into the rsync
361     tree.
362    
363     The main rsync tree will **not** use the ``yyyy/mm/`` subdirectory layout. The
364     news item directories will all be immediately under the ``metadata/news/``
365     directory.
366 g2boojum 1.1
367     Client Side
368     '''''''''''
369    
370 ciaranm 1.4 Whenever relevant unread news items are found, the package manager will create a
371 ciaranm 1.7 file named ``/var/lib/gentoo/news/news-${repoid}.unread`` (if it does not
372 ciaranm 1.5 already exist) and append the news item identifier (eg
373     ``2005-11-01-yoursql-updates``) on a new line.
374 ciaranm 1.4
375 ciaranm 1.7 All news item related files should be root owned and in the ``portage`` group
376     with the group write (and, for directories, execute) bits set. News files should
377     be world readable.
378    
379 g2boojum 1.1 Notification that new relevant news items will be displayed via the
380     ``emerge`` tool in a similar way to the existing "configuration files need
381     updating" messages:
382    
383     ::
384    
385     * Important: there are 5 unread news items.
386     * Type emerge --help news to learn how to read news files.
387    
388 ciaranm 1.4 Checks for new news messages should be displayed:
389 g2boojum 1.1
390 ciaranm 1.4 * After an ``emerge sync``
391     * After an ``emerge --pretend``
392     * Before an ``emerge <target>`` (which may also include a red warning message)
393 ciaranm 1.7
394     The package manager does not need to know how to launch the user's choice of
395     news client. This is consistent with the way configuration file updates are
396     handled.
397 ciaranm 1.4
398     The package manager may use a timestamp check file to avoid having to process
399     news items unnecessarily.
400    
401     The package manager must keep track of news items that have already been added
402     to the unread list to avoid repeatedly marking a deleted news item. This could
403 ciaranm 1.7 be handled via a ``news-${repoid}.skip`` file containing the IDs of news items
404     that have already been added to a ``news-${repoid}.unread`` file, but this
405     method is not required by this GLEP.
406 g2boojum 1.1
407     Users who really don't care about news items can use ``rsync_excludes`` to
408 ciaranm 1.4 filter out the ``metadata/news/`` directory.
409 g2boojum 1.1
410     News Item Clients
411     -----------------
412    
413 ciaranm 1.4 Once a news item is marked for reading, third party tools (or traditional core
414     Unix tools) can be used to display and view the news files.
415    
416 ciaranm 1.5 When a news item is read, its name should be removed from the
417 ciaranm 1.8 ``news-${repoid}.unread`` file. If a news client acts as an interactive reader
418     rather than a gateway, it should then add the name to a ``news-${repoid}.read``
419 ciaranm 1.6 file in the same directory with the same file format.
420 ciaranm 1.4
421     An ``eselect`` [#eselect]_ module shall be created as the 'suggested' display
422     tool; other display tools (for example, a news to email forwarder, which would
423     be ideal for users who sync on a ``cron``) are left as options for those who
424     desire them.
425 g2boojum 1.1
426     News Item Removal
427     -----------------
428    
429     News items can be removed (by removing the news file from the main tree) when
430     they are no longer relevant, if they are made obsolete by a future news item or
431     after a long period of time. This is the same as the method used for ``updates``
432     entries.
433    
434     Integration with Existing Systems
435     =================================
436    
437 ciaranm 1.4 It would be simple to convert these news items into the format used for news
438 g2boojum 1.1 items on the Gentoo website or posts for the ``gentoo-announce`` mailing list.
439    
440     There is an existing automated tool [#forums-glsa]_ for posting GLSAs to the
441     forums. A similar tool can be used for these news items.
442    
443     Backwards Compatibility
444     =======================
445    
446     Backwards compatibility is not a concern here. Existing tools will simply ignore
447     the ``news/`` directory.
448    
449     Reference Implementation
450     ========================
451    
452     TODO
453    
454     Credits
455     =======
456    
457     The idea behind notifying users of news updates via Portage comes from Stuart
458     Herbert [#stuart-blog]_.
459    
460 ciaranm 1.4 Thanks to Lance Albertson, Stephen Bennett, Donnie Berkholz, Grant Goodyear,
461 ciaranm 1.7 Brian Harring, Marius Mauch, Dan Meltzer, Jason Stubbs, Paul de Vrieze and Alec
462     Warner for input. Some of the ideas presented here are theirs, others go
463     completely against their suggestions.
464 ciaranm 1.4
465     Example Files
466     =============
467    
468 ciaranm 1.8 `example-news-item.txt <glep-0042-extras/example-news-item.txt>`_
469     An example news item.
470 g2boojum 1.1
471     References
472     ==========
473    
474 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#bug-11359] Bugzilla Bug 11359
475     "[NEW FEATURE] pkg_postinst/pkg_preinst ewarn/einfo logging",
476     https://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=11359
477 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#docs-policy] Gentoo XML Guide, Daniel Robbins et al.,
478     http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/xml-guide.xml
479     .. [#eselect] eselect modular framework for configuration and
480     administration utilities,
481     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/eselect/index.xml
482     .. [#forums-glsa] Forums user GLSA,
483     http://forums.gentoo.org/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=55648
484 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#forums-apache2] Forums thread "Gentoo Apache2 Config Change Idiocy",
485 g2boojum 1.1 http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-384368.html
486     .. [#glep-22] GLEP 22: "New "keyword" system to incorporate various
487     userlands/kernels/archs", Grant Goodyear,
488     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0022.html
489     .. [#glep-31] GLEP 31: "Character Sets for Portage Tree Items", Ciaran
490     McCreesh,
491     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0031.html
492     .. [#glep-34] GLEP 34: "Per-Category metadata.xml Files", Ciaran McCreesh,
493     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0034.html
494     .. [#glep-36] GLEP 36: "Subversion/CVS for Gentoo Hosted Projects", Aaron
495     Walker,
496     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0036.html
497 ciaranm 1.6 .. [#glep-45] GLEP 45: "GLEP date format", Henrik Brix Andersen,
498     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0045.html
499 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#iso-639] ISO 639 "Code for the representation of names of languages"
500     .. [#ramereth-repo] "Re: [gentoo-dev] GLEP ??: Critical News Reporting", Lance
501     Albertson,
502     http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=gentoo-dev&m=113111585907703&w=2
503     .. [#rfc-822] RFC 822 "Standard for the format of ARPA Internet text messages"
504 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#rfc-3629] RFC 3629: "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646"
505     http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3629.txt
506 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#stuart-blog] "Favouring an automatic news mechanism", Stuart Herbert,
507     http://stu.gnqs.org/diary/gentoo.php/2005/10/28/favouring_an_automatic_news_mechanism
508    
509     Copyright
510     =========
511    
512     This document has been placed in the public domain.
513    
514     .. vim: set tw=80 fileencoding=utf-8 spell spelllang=en et :

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