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Re: pkglint and R package MASTER_SITES

On 09.08.2020 19:20, Brook Milligan wrote:
> R packages are supposed to include math/R/Makefile.extension, which defines MASTER_SITES.  It turns out that a number of R packages overrode MASTER_SITES when they should not.  (Other than wip, I believe that two do override it correctly, because their distfiles are in unusual places; the rest are now fixed.)
> It would be really helpful if pkglint could at least warn if a package includes math/R/Makefile.extension and also overrides MASTER_SITES.

In general, this exact pattern is the recommended one: The
Makefile.extension (or as I prefer: provides useful
default values that most packages are happy with, and the remaining few
packages override these defaults.

How do you know that these packages overrode MASTER_SITES "when they
should not", and what exactly is this "when they should not"?  Right
now, if you showed me one of these packages, I could probably not tell
whether this overriding is redundant or harmful or intended.

What exactly are the "unusual places" of the few packages that are
supposed to override MASTER_SITES, and how can pkglint distinguish
"unusual places" from "redundant places"?

I need to know the answers to these questions before I can implement
this check in pkglint.  Maybe there is a more general pattern that not
only applies to R packages.  Or maybe answering these questions requires
so much detailed knowledge and thoughts that there is no point feeding
all this into pkglint.  I'm not sure which one it is, therefore I'm asking.


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