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Re: Bug#532515: handling of Recommends (was: on making decisions vs letting things happen)

On Monday 06 July 2009, Colin Watson wrote:
> So does that mean you feel that the policy manual's description of
> Recommends is wrong, or that Debian installations should be unusual by
> default?

I don't think policy for Recommends is wrong, but I do feel it results to 
a hell of a lot of packages getting installed that are not actually 
needed/wanted in practice. IMO the special handling of Recommends in D-I 
so far was justified, especially as we did consciously compensate for not 
installing Recommends by default by adding them to the task definitions 
in cases where they were really needed/wanted.

> Realistically, either (a) the Recommends were correct or (b) nobody was
> going to bother fixing them until they started being installed by
> default as policy says they should be.

I feel that the change could have been discussed more before being 
implemented in tasksel, possibly with some coordinated effort to check 
the impact on _all_ tasks instead of just the Gnome desktop task and 
maybe filing bugs to fix the most problematic Recommends.

At the very least the impact on or consequences for debian-cd should have 
been discussed *before* the change was made.

> It's one thing to say that something is premature, but the previous
> situation was just a deadlock. 

There have been improvements of the use of Recommends during Lenny. Maybe 
not as many as needed, but still.

> debootstrap is a slightly odd case (because it's also used to construct
> explicitly minimal systems, in which case the rules seem different) and
> I've long been unsure about how it should behave. Maybe it just needs
> an option for it.

I can agree to some extend with debootstrap although you could also argue 
that we should be consistent, maybe with an expert option to 
_consistently_ ignore Recommends for those who want a bare minimal 

IMO there is no justification to treat packages installed by 
base-installer or other components using apt-install differently from 
those installed by tasksel.

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