agreeing a policy for maintainers and hackageDB

Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho antti-juhani at
Sat Jul 12 18:24:57 EDT 2008

On Sat, Jul 12, 2008 at 04:48:39PM -0400, Gwern Branwen wrote:
> On 2008.07.01 22:08:52 +0300, Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho <antti-juhani at> scribbled 2.9K characters:
> > Failing to check for a trivial error is indiligence?  Perhaps.  I prefer
> > that such trivial errors be checkable by program - and that requires
> > that a missing value is distinct from a null value.
> Yes, it is. Given that by the time a package is uploaded to Hackage, a dev will have seen the warnings at least twice

If both intentional and unintentional missing field get the same
warning, then the warning is useless, as a developer will have learned
to ignore it.

> > A missing Cabal license field says "there is no information about
> > license here", not "all rights reserved": thus, the field distinguishes
> > between a missing value and a null value (indeed, if this analogy
> > supported your position, there would be no AllRightsReserved value!).
> You were the one who was saying that things should be machine checkable.

Yes I was!  And I still am.  I don't understand how is it possible that
we two use the same arguments to argue exactly opposite positions.
That's just weird (and in my opinion, your analysis is flawed - and I'm
sure you'll say the same of mine).

> Three values is ambiguous.

Exactly the other way around - three values is UNambiguous, since three
real values are not being conflated in two nominal values.


> If you propose that there should be an explicit Unmaintained value,
> then any tool or website needs to handle the omitted case

Why the if?  I thought it was the POINT of this thread that such a value
is being proposed. And yes, obviously all tools will have to handle any
value defined for a field.  That does not depend on whether there is a
separate null value or not.

> the only reasonable approach is to assume that omitted maintainer field means Unmaintainedi

No, it doesn't.  It also can mean "the developer forgot".  If there is
an explicit null value ("unmaintained"), then leaving the field out can
be made an error condition - a reason for rejecting an upload.

> Sure, but do not all Linux package managers (and others) insist on
> having important metadata in a standard format? 

Of course they do.  And, since you mentioned Debian, I might mention
that omitting Maintainer field in a Debian package is grounds for
package rejection.  There is a special value denoting "orphaned" (ie.
lacking a dedicated maintainer).

Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho, Jyväskylä, Finland
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