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Re: Bumping epoch and reusing package name "elisa"

Marc Haber <mh+debian-devel@xxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:

> Why do we have them then, and why do we keep tightening up Policy in a
> way that we'd better write "don't use epochs, they're evil"?

The original Policy documentation of why we have epochs (which I think has
been essentially unchanged forever) is:

    Note that the purpose of epochs is to allow us to leave behind
    mistakes in version numbering, and to cope with situations where the
    version numbering scheme changes. It is *not* intended to cope with
    version numbers containing strings of letters which the package
    management system cannot interpret (such as ``ALPHA`` or ``pre-``), or
    with silly orderings.

I think the canonical example is a package that was using version numbers
like 20180925 and then switches to semver 1.0 versions.  (Policy
recommends always using 0.0.20180925 as the version for packages versioned
by date for exactly this reason, but if someone didn't notice that and
uploads the package using date versions for a while, epochs are our only
way to convert to upstream's versioning system shy of renaming all the

That said, it feels like the general sentiment in the project has turned
quite strongly against epochs.  When I first got involved in Debian, it
was common to use epochs whenever we had to package an older version of
upstream for some reason, but my impression is that this has fallen out of
favor.  That reduces the use of epochs considerably.

Russ Allbery (rra@xxxxxxxxxx)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>