[Rd] news file included in source but not binary package

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Fri Jun 25 10:36:48 CEST 2004

On Fri, 25 Jun 2004, Martin Maechler wrote:

> We emacs fans would definitely additionally want 'ChangeLog' (as
> per Fritz' proposal).
> This has been a standard name for decades with a very convenient
> emacs interface ['C-x 4 a'] to create and update the file.

Only if it is in a certain very rigid format.  Unfortunately Emacs 
interferes with attempts to edit a file called ChangeLog in other people's 

>     AndyL> and use NEWS.platform as Duncan suggested
>     AndyL> (in the top-level directory, rather than
>     AndyL> platform-specific directories)?
> I agree.  
> BTW, both NEWS and ChangeLog have specific (but different) syntax
> the main difference that NEWS entries are anonymous and not
> dated whereas ChangeLog is a "log", i.e. has dated entries.

To my mind the main difference is that NEWS is for interesting information 
for users, and ChangeLog for notes for developers.

> Kurt (or Fritz?) already mentioned in the earlier
> 'Greg-initiated' thread that it might be interesting to consider
> automatic conversion of these files to (e.g.) html.  
> But such possibilities should not hinder us from agreeing *now*
> that e.g. files with regexps
> ----------
> m{NEWS.*}
> m{Change(s|Log)}i
> ----------

And what software you propose to evaluate those regexps (which look like 
Perl commands to me)?

> should automatically be taken from the source toplevel directory
> and put into <installed>/doc/<filename>.txt
> 			       ^^^^
> (the '.txt' maybe a good idea idea because the ./doc/ directory
>  can be easily opened in the browser in some interfaces)

I disagree.  Lots of packages already install their documentation files
where they want them, and we should not retrospectively change what the
maintainers did.  (In at least one case I deliberately do not install a
ChangeLog file, which refers to source files which are also not
installed.)  Those people who have inst/doc and a nice index probably
don't want other files added there.

Let's start from the position that we already have a mechanism for 
installing files and encourage its use.  We may want to add some 
guidelines on the use of information files, but we cannot impose them 

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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