Debian Policy 4.7 Outlines Latest Packaging/System Guidelines

Written by Michael Larabel in Debian on 7 April 2024 at 06:17 AM EDT. 17 Comments
A new version of the Debian Policy Manual has been published that outlines the policy requirements for Debian around the package archive and various design matters of the platform.

Debian Policy 4.7 recognizes the recent introduction of the non-free-firmware archive to Debian, allowing hard links within source packages, and packages that start/stop services most include systemd units unless they are explicitly intended for alternative init systems.

The change-log from today's Debian Policy 4.7 announcement includes:
Document that source packages in the *main* archive area may build binary packages in the *contrib* archive area, although this is discouraged unless the source package is inconvenient to split. This does not relax the requirement that source packages in *main* must not have build dependencies outside of *main*.

The ``non-free-firmware`` archive area has been added.

Maintainer scripts should use native overriding mechanisms instead of dpkg-divert, wherever possible. Maintainer scripts must not divert configuration files used by systemd components.

Maintainer scripts must not use the alternatives system for systemd configuration files.

Hard links are permitted in source packages.

For packages in contrib, and for packages in non-free with ``Autobuild: yes``, required targets in d/rules are no longer permitted to attempt network access. Previously, only packages in main had this restriction.

The ``Description`` field is not present in ``.changes`` files if no binary packages are being uploaded.

The ``Binary`` field is not present in ``.changes`` files if no binary packages are being uploaded.

Packages that automatically start or stop system services must include ``systemd`` units unless the service is only intended for use on systems running alternative init systems. Previously, ``systemd`` also supported init scripts, but that support is being removed.

The policy changes go into effect now for Debian Sid development.
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