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Re: Complaint about apt installing Recommends by default.

Quoting Eric Renfro (erenfro@gmail.com):

> I have been a Debian user since way back when, and I completely
> disagree with this decision. Recommends should NOT be treated as if

Playing the "I've been in this game for long" with some people in this
list is probably a bad idea and you're very certainly risking to lose,
I'm afraid..:-)

> Required, ever. Things such as, for an example, rsyslog-pgsql, to
> add postgresql logging support. Generally such a package could (AND
> SHOULD!) recommend postgresql-server, and at the very least Require
> postgresql-client. Since rsyslog-pgsql would be just a component to
> add support to log TO a PostgreSQL server, it's not essentially
> required to run it on the same system the module is installed on.
> But to "by default" imposedly install postgresql-server on every
> system you install rsyslog-pgsql to just because it's recommend, is
> outright unacceptably insanely stupid.

In such case, please complain to the relevant maintainer and ask
him|her to downgrade the dependency to Suggests:

As you forgot to point out, not that many distribution have a graded
dependency system as Debian has (see Wouter's answer as well). Some of
our maintainers do use it properly, some sometimes don't. Please don't
blame the entire system because some  people are misusing it.

As Wouter  pointed (again), not installing Recommends by default was
a recurrent complaint of our users who expect, when installing a
system *with its default option* to have a reasonably complete system.

The Debian Installation Guide gives good instructions to avoid
installing Recommends by default by using a boot prompt switch:


(I'll assume that such an experienced and longstanding Linux user has
a clue about passing arguments to the D-I boot prompt, right?

> Another prime example is a package maintainer may "Recommend"
> pulseaudio for the use of ... Let's use Amarok as an example. Is it
> absolutely Required to use PulseAudio with Amarok to play audio?
> Absolutely not. With the direction PulseAudio has gone as well, it
> would be hard to honestly recommend such a thing, but it can and
> likely even will happen, and unless someone pins pulseaudio packages
> from ever installing, they may very well have it shoved down their
> throat. Is this acceptable? Completely not.

The, for the sake of it, please file a bug report against the relevant

> I will firmly say this. It is completely stupid to, by default,
> install Recommends. In the past, only Ubuntu has ever done this, and

Please avoid things like "stupid" and such too strong words. This is
probably not the most appropriate way to make your point, I'm afraid.

You mention Ubuntu. Have you checked their recent policy in recent
release? Are you that sure that they're not doing exactly the same
thing we're doing? Some Ubuntu installation system developers do
follow this channel and will probably answer better than me on this
topic but I wouldn't be surprised if Karmic has exactly the same
behaviour than Debian ssqueeze.

Anyway, about being "stupid" to install Recommends, you probably may
want to read the Debian Policy again
(http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-relationships.html) and
the definition of various dependencies.


    This declares a strong, but not absolute, dependency.

    The Recommends field should list packages that would be found together with this one in all but unusual installations.

You'll probably agree that a default install is not expected to be an
"unusual" installation. So, installing Recommends by default is a
perfectly logical decision in that matter.

Packages that were abusing Recommends are progressively fixed as they
are found. Please help in this effort if you find a package that uses
Recommends in an inappropriate way. This is how things are working in
Debian: they're done when someone is motivated enough to do them.

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