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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 1.9 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-2006, 6-Mar-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 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 ciaranm 1.9 or not the profile used for a given repository ID is exactly the given profile
162     (e.g. ``portageq profile_used default-linux/sparc/sparc64/2004.3
163     gentoo-x86``).
164 ciaranm 1.6
165     These extensions are assumed during the following specification.
166    
167 ciaranm 1.4 News Item Identities
168     --------------------
169    
170     Each news item will have a unique identifier. This identifier will be in the
171     form ``yyyy-mm-dd-short-name``, where ``yyyy`` is the year (e.g. ``2005``),
172     ``mm`` is the month (``01`` through ``12``) and dd is the day of the month
173     (``01`` through ``31``). The ``short-name`` is a very short name describing the
174     news item (e.g. ``yoursql-updates``), consisting only of the characters ``a-z``,
175 ciaranm 1.7 ``0-9``, ``+`` (plus), ``-`` (hyphen) and ``_`` (underscore).
176 ciaranm 1.4
177     News Item Directories
178 g2boojum 1.1 ---------------------
179    
180 ciaranm 1.4 Each news item will be represented by a directory whose name is the same as the
181     news item's identifier.
182    
183     The directory will contain a file named ``yyyy-mm-dd-short-name.en.txt``, which
184     contains the text of the news item, in English, in the format described below.
185    
186     If a news item is translated, other files named ``yyyy-mm-dd-short-name.xx.txt``
187 ciaranm 1.8 (where ``xx`` is the ISO 639 [#iso-639]_ two letter country code, and the date
188     remains the same as the original news item) will also be provided. However, only
189     the English version of a news item is authoritative. This anglocentricity is
190     justified by precedent [#glep-34]_.
191 ciaranm 1.4
192     News Item Files
193     ---------------
194    
195     A news item file is a text file, encoded using UTF-8 [#rfc-3629]_ for
196     compatibility with and for the same reasons as existing Gentoo documentation
197     [#docs-policy]_ and the tree [#glep-31]_.
198 g2boojum 1.1
199 ciaranm 1.7 News items must be signed with a detached GPG signature.::
200 ciaranm 1.4
201     gpg --armour --detach-sign ????-??-??-*.??.txt
202    
203 ciaranm 1.7 This GLEP does not specify the type or strength of signature to be used, nor
204     does it discuss how, if at all, a centralised keychain will be provided. These
205     issues should be handled as part of the signing policy discussions.
206    
207 ciaranm 1.4 A news item file's content will consist of an RFC 822 style header [#rfc-822]_
208 g2boojum 1.1 followed by the main body of the message as plain text. This GLEP defines
209 ciaranm 1.4 various optional and mandatory headers. Future GLEPs may propose new headers —
210 g2boojum 1.1 tools handling these news items must ignore any unrecognised header.
211    
212     News Item Headers
213     '''''''''''''''''
214    
215     The following headers describe the purpose and format of the news item:
216    
217     ``Title:``
218     A short (maximum 44 characters) descriptive title. Mandatory.
219 ciaranm 1.4
220 g2boojum 1.1 ``Author:``
221     Author's name and email address, in the form ``Real Name <email@address>``.
222 ciaranm 1.4 Mandatory; multiple author headers may be specified if appropriate.
223    
224 g2boojum 1.1 ``Translator:``
225 ciaranm 1.4 For translated news items, the translator's name and email address. Multiple
226     translator headers may be specified if appropriate.
227    
228 g2boojum 1.1 ``Content-Type:``
229     Must be ``text/plain``. Mandatory.
230 ciaranm 1.4
231 g2boojum 1.1 ``Posted:``
232 ciaranm 1.6 Date of posting, in ``yyyy-mm-dd`` format (e.g. 2005-12-18) for
233 ciaranm 1.8 compatibility with GLEP 45 [#glep-45]_. Translations should use the date
234     of the original news item. Mandatory.
235 ciaranm 1.4
236     ``Revision:``
237 ciaranm 1.7 Initially 1. Should be incremented every time a change is made to the news
238     item. Changes that require a re-read of the news item (i.e., most changes
239     that are not spelling or formatting related) should instead use a new news
240     item. Mandatory.
241 ciaranm 1.4
242 g2boojum 1.1 ``News-Item-Format:``
243     Must be ``1.0``. Future revisions to the format may increment the minor
244     number for backwards-compatible changes, or the major number for major
245     changes.
246    
247 ciaranm 1.4 The following headers are used for filtering:
248 g2boojum 1.1
249     ``Display-If-Installed:``
250 ciaranm 1.7 A dependency atom (for example, ``<dev-lang/php-5_alpha`` or
251     ``net-www/apache``). If the user has the package specified installed from
252     the repository from which the news item was obtained, the news item should
253     be displayed.
254 g2boojum 1.1
255     ``Display-If-Keyword:``
256 ciaranm 1.4 A keyword [#glep-22]_ name, for example ``mips`` or ``x86-fbsd``. If the
257     user is on the keyword in question, the news item should be displayed.
258 g2boojum 1.1
259     ``Display-If-Profile:``
260 ciaranm 1.6 A profile path, for example ``default-linux/sparc/sparc64/server``. If the
261 ciaranm 1.9 user is using the exact profile in question, the news item should be
262     displayed. This header may be used to replace ``deprecated`` files in the
263     future.
264 ciaranm 1.4
265     .. Note:: When performing package moves, developers must also update any
266     relevant ``Display-If-Installed`` headers in news files.
267    
268     The algorithm used to determine whether a news item is 'relevant' is as
269     follows:
270    
271     * For each ``Display-If-`` header type which occurs at least once:
272    
273     + The news item is not relevant if none of the headers of this type are
274     successfully matched.
275    
276     * Otherwise the news item is relevant.
277    
278     In particular, if no ``Display-If-`` header is specified, a news item will be
279     relevant for all users.
280    
281     This algorithm was chosen because it makes conditions like "display this news
282     item for ``YourSQL`` users who are on ``sparc`` or ``x86-obsd`` relatively
283     simple to specify — it is believed that these kinds of condition are far more
284     likely to occur than "display this news item for people using ``YourSQL``, or
285     for people on ``sparc`` or ``x86-obsd``\" or "display these news items for
286     people who use ``YourSQL`` and who are on both ``sparc`` and ``x86-obsd``\".
287 g2boojum 1.1
288     News Item Body
289     ''''''''''''''
290    
291     The header section must be followed by a blank line, then the main body of the
292     text.
293    
294     The text body should be wrapped at 72 characters. No fancy formatting or tab
295 ciaranm 1.4 characters should be used — the news item may be being displayed directly to a
296 ciaranm 1.2 terminal. Paragraphs should be separated by a blank line.
297 g2boojum 1.1
298     Hyperlinks may be used to refer to further information (for example, an upgrade
299     guide). However, the main body of the news item should be descriptive and not
300     simply a "read this link" text. It is assumed that the user will have access to
301     a web browser *somewhere*, but not necessarily on the box which is being
302 ciaranm 1.7 administrated — this will be the case on many servers and routers, for example.
303 g2boojum 1.1
304     Example News Item
305     '''''''''''''''''
306    
307 ciaranm 1.4 `This hypothetical news item`__ could be used for an upgrade to the
308     ``YourSQL`` database format which breaks forward compatibility.
309 g2boojum 1.1
310 ciaranm 1.4 .. __: glep-0042-extras/example-news-item.txt
311 g2boojum 1.1
312     News Item Quality Control
313     -------------------------
314    
315     There have been complaints regarding the comprehensibility of some upgrade
316 ciaranm 1.4 notices and news items in the past. This is understandable — not every Gentoo
317     developer speaks English as a first language. However, for the sake of clarity,
318     professionalism and avoiding making us look like prats, it is important that any
319     language problems be corrected before inflicting a news item upon end users.
320    
321     Thus, at least 72 hours before a proposed news item is committed, it must be
322     posted to the ``gentoo-dev`` mailing list and ``Cc:``\ed to ``pr@gentoo.org``
323     (exceptions may be made in exceptional circumstances). Any complaints — for
324     example regarding wording, clarity or accuracy — **must** be addressed before
325     the news item goes live.
326    
327 g2boojum 1.1 News items must only be for **important** changes that may cause serious upgrade
328     or compatibility problems. Ordinary upgrade messages and non-critical news items
329     should remain in ``einfo`` notices. The importance of the message to its
330     intended audience should be justified with the proposal.
331    
332     .. Important:: The filtering system means that it is appropriate to send out
333     news items which are aimed at users of an uncommon package or architecture.
334     Thus, the justification should be in the form "this message is important to
335     YourSQL users because ...", not "YourSQL is important because ...".
336    
337     News Item Distribution
338     ----------------------
339    
340     Server Side
341     '''''''''''
342    
343 ciaranm 1.4 News items are to be made available via the standard rsync tree. This removes
344     any need for polling of a remote source.
345 g2boojum 1.1
346     A new repository will be created for news items. The type (CVS or Subversion),
347     location and access controls on this repository are beyond the scope of this
348     GLEP.
349    
350     .. Note:: A previous draft of this GLEP instead used the main ``gentoo-x86``
351     tree. This was changed following advice from Infrastructure
352     [#ramereth-repo]_. Both solutions have the same end result.
353    
354 ciaranm 1.4 This repository will contain directories named ``yyyy/mm/``, where ``yyyy`` is
355 g2boojum 1.1 the current year and ``mm`` is the current month number (01 for January through
356     12 for December). This separation will help keep news items more manageable.
357    
358     The contents of this repository will automatically be merged with the main rsync
359 ciaranm 1.4 tree, placing the items in a ``metadata/news/`` directory. The method used for
360 ciaranm 1.7 merging these items and the frequency at which it will occur is beyond the scope
361     of this GLEP; a similar setup is already used for merging GLSAs into the rsync
362     tree.
363    
364     The main rsync tree will **not** use the ``yyyy/mm/`` subdirectory layout. The
365     news item directories will all be immediately under the ``metadata/news/``
366     directory.
367 g2boojum 1.1
368     Client Side
369     '''''''''''
370    
371 ciaranm 1.4 Whenever relevant unread news items are found, the package manager will create a
372 ciaranm 1.7 file named ``/var/lib/gentoo/news/news-${repoid}.unread`` (if it does not
373 ciaranm 1.5 already exist) and append the news item identifier (eg
374     ``2005-11-01-yoursql-updates``) on a new line.
375 ciaranm 1.4
376 ciaranm 1.7 All news item related files should be root owned and in the ``portage`` group
377     with the group write (and, for directories, execute) bits set. News files should
378     be world readable.
379    
380 g2boojum 1.1 Notification that new relevant news items will be displayed via the
381     ``emerge`` tool in a similar way to the existing "configuration files need
382     updating" messages:
383    
384     ::
385    
386     * Important: there are 5 unread news items.
387     * Type emerge --help news to learn how to read news files.
388    
389 ciaranm 1.4 Checks for new news messages should be displayed:
390 g2boojum 1.1
391 ciaranm 1.4 * After an ``emerge sync``
392     * After an ``emerge --pretend``
393     * Before an ``emerge <target>`` (which may also include a red warning message)
394 ciaranm 1.7
395     The package manager does not need to know how to launch the user's choice of
396     news client. This is consistent with the way configuration file updates are
397     handled.
398 ciaranm 1.4
399     The package manager may use a timestamp check file to avoid having to process
400     news items unnecessarily.
401    
402     The package manager must keep track of news items that have already been added
403     to the unread list to avoid repeatedly marking a deleted news item. This could
404 ciaranm 1.7 be handled via a ``news-${repoid}.skip`` file containing the IDs of news items
405     that have already been added to a ``news-${repoid}.unread`` file, but this
406     method is not required by this GLEP.
407 g2boojum 1.1
408     Users who really don't care about news items can use ``rsync_excludes`` to
409 ciaranm 1.4 filter out the ``metadata/news/`` directory.
410 g2boojum 1.1
411     News Item Clients
412     -----------------
413    
414 ciaranm 1.4 Once a news item is marked for reading, third party tools (or traditional core
415     Unix tools) can be used to display and view the news files.
416    
417 ciaranm 1.5 When a news item is read, its name should be removed from the
418 ciaranm 1.8 ``news-${repoid}.unread`` file. If a news client acts as an interactive reader
419     rather than a gateway, it should then add the name to a ``news-${repoid}.read``
420 ciaranm 1.6 file in the same directory with the same file format.
421 ciaranm 1.4
422     An ``eselect`` [#eselect]_ module shall be created as the 'suggested' display
423     tool; other display tools (for example, a news to email forwarder, which would
424     be ideal for users who sync on a ``cron``) are left as options for those who
425     desire them.
426 g2boojum 1.1
427     News Item Removal
428     -----------------
429    
430     News items can be removed (by removing the news file from the main tree) when
431     they are no longer relevant, if they are made obsolete by a future news item or
432     after a long period of time. This is the same as the method used for ``updates``
433     entries.
434    
435     Integration with Existing Systems
436     =================================
437    
438 ciaranm 1.4 It would be simple to convert these news items into the format used for news
439 g2boojum 1.1 items on the Gentoo website or posts for the ``gentoo-announce`` mailing list.
440    
441     There is an existing automated tool [#forums-glsa]_ for posting GLSAs to the
442     forums. A similar tool can be used for these news items.
443    
444     Backwards Compatibility
445     =======================
446    
447     Backwards compatibility is not a concern here. Existing tools will simply ignore
448     the ``news/`` directory.
449    
450     Reference Implementation
451     ========================
452    
453     TODO
454    
455     Credits
456     =======
457    
458     The idea behind notifying users of news updates via Portage comes from Stuart
459     Herbert [#stuart-blog]_.
460    
461 ciaranm 1.4 Thanks to Lance Albertson, Stephen Bennett, Donnie Berkholz, Grant Goodyear,
462 ciaranm 1.7 Brian Harring, Marius Mauch, Dan Meltzer, Jason Stubbs, Paul de Vrieze and Alec
463     Warner for input. Some of the ideas presented here are theirs, others go
464     completely against their suggestions.
465 ciaranm 1.4
466     Example Files
467     =============
468    
469 ciaranm 1.8 `example-news-item.txt <glep-0042-extras/example-news-item.txt>`_
470     An example news item.
471 g2boojum 1.1
472     References
473     ==========
474    
475 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#bug-11359] Bugzilla Bug 11359
476     "[NEW FEATURE] pkg_postinst/pkg_preinst ewarn/einfo logging",
477     https://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=11359
478 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#docs-policy] Gentoo XML Guide, Daniel Robbins et al.,
479     http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/xml-guide.xml
480     .. [#eselect] eselect modular framework for configuration and
481     administration utilities,
482     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/eselect/index.xml
483     .. [#forums-glsa] Forums user GLSA,
484     http://forums.gentoo.org/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=55648
485 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#forums-apache2] Forums thread "Gentoo Apache2 Config Change Idiocy",
486 g2boojum 1.1 http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-384368.html
487     .. [#glep-22] GLEP 22: "New "keyword" system to incorporate various
488     userlands/kernels/archs", Grant Goodyear,
489     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0022.html
490     .. [#glep-31] GLEP 31: "Character Sets for Portage Tree Items", Ciaran
491     McCreesh,
492     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0031.html
493     .. [#glep-34] GLEP 34: "Per-Category metadata.xml Files", Ciaran McCreesh,
494     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0034.html
495     .. [#glep-36] GLEP 36: "Subversion/CVS for Gentoo Hosted Projects", Aaron
496     Walker,
497     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0036.html
498 ciaranm 1.6 .. [#glep-45] GLEP 45: "GLEP date format", Henrik Brix Andersen,
499     http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/glep/glep-0045.html
500 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#iso-639] ISO 639 "Code for the representation of names of languages"
501     .. [#ramereth-repo] "Re: [gentoo-dev] GLEP ??: Critical News Reporting", Lance
502     Albertson,
503     http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=gentoo-dev&m=113111585907703&w=2
504     .. [#rfc-822] RFC 822 "Standard for the format of ARPA Internet text messages"
505 ciaranm 1.4 .. [#rfc-3629] RFC 3629: "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646"
506     http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3629.txt
507 g2boojum 1.1 .. [#stuart-blog] "Favouring an automatic news mechanism", Stuart Herbert,
508     http://stu.gnqs.org/diary/gentoo.php/2005/10/28/favouring_an_automatic_news_mechanism
509    
510     Copyright
511     =========
512    
513     This document has been placed in the public domain.
514    
515     .. vim: set tw=80 fileencoding=utf-8 spell spelllang=en et :

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