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Re: RFC: Description text in packages

Nicolas Mailhot wrote:
> Le Lun 15 décembre 2008 16:37, Richard Hughes a écrit :
>> Next on my list are insane descriptions.
> Specs files and most notably human-targeted text inside them are
> UTF-8. Please do not invent any broken application-side transcoding
> system. Writing correctly encoded text is the packager and translator
> responsability.

> If the fugly ASCII-zation some packagers use offends you,
> 1. write a best practices wiki page with recommended UTF-8 sequences
> 2. get it reviewed/approved by FPC and FESCO
> 3. open bugs for offending packages
> 4. get some broken-ASCII checks added to our package linting/review
> tools.
Currently, I'm opposed to having a Guideline that mandates UTF-8 over
ASCII.  Description is an area almost completely left to the
maintainer's discretion (we've talked to the enlightenment maintainer
about taking out some of the marketing-speak but otherwise kept a pretty
much hands-off approach).

ASCii can be useful on the console whether the system is setup with a
utf-8 locale (which is our default, and therefore if we do mandate using
an encoding other than ASCii it's what we should use) or something more
limited (for instance, Asian countries still haven't settled on utf-8

Note that this is an area where I'd change my stance if package
maintianers were to say that they want to have this sort of change.  I
just want to avoid alienating maintainers with conformance to this sort
of rule on descriptions without a higher return.

> This is how our guidelines process works, it's long and bureaucratic
> but it ensures everyone has its say and no gratuituous bikesheding is
> pushed on packagers.

>> Question 2: What's the maximum permitted length of a description?
> What matters is not the description length but its quality and
> usefulness to users. Some domains use long descriptions, because the
> target audience expects them.

> Note that that because rpmlint insists on forcing 79 character
> line-wraps to help dumb terminal users, it's effectively impossible
> right now to get correct paragraph flow and breaks in descriptions
> (aye for optimizing the minority case at the expense of everyone
> else).
If we were to mandate an encoding standard, we could make this work
similar to how various wikis and blogs take plain-text input and turn it
into formatted text.  Given my penchant for python, I like
ReStructuredText[1]_ for this but I'm sure we could get into a huge
flamewar over the right text-formatting language to use.

.. _[1]: http://docutils.sourceforge.net/rst.html


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