Due to the continuous demand for downsizing both our installation media, as well as the install footprint, we looked for packages which we should eliminate […], but also for stuff that users generally don’t need and won’t miss. IMO package changelogs very much fall into the latter category, so they were very high on the “first against the wall” list. Changelogs are of course a valuable developer tool, but for those it is usually less important to have them available locally, as long as there is a convenient method to access them. For that I wrote a helper tool “apt-changelog” which retrieves it from changelogs.ubuntu.com.
apt-changelog is now shipped in apt-utils in Natty. However, there were some concerns, so we got a new compromise to just ship the top 10 changelog records, and add a comment about apt-changelog at the bottom. That way, the most interesting entries are still shipped, and developers and users will get used to
“apt-changelog”; this will provide a smoother transition, but still get rid of about 90% of the changelog size.
I think this is a pretty good move.