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Re: Bug#896698: deprecating needs-recommends

On Mon, Sep 17, 2018 at 10:50:01PM +0200, gregor herrmann wrote:
> On Sat, 15 Sep 2018 15:40:33 +0200, Michael Biebl wrote:
> > On Thu, 30 Aug 2018 12:03:31 +0200 Paul Gevers <elbrus@debian.org> wrote:
> > > I have just pushed commit 9fade8dcb501250f704da9c77af1f8e6165dc941 that
> > > documents that we want to remove the needs-recommends option as we
> > > discussed in https://lists.debian.org/debian-ci/2018/06/msg00016.html.
> > So I have this specific case where I found needs-recommends quite
> > convenient:
> > I have a package (firewalld) which has optional dependencies like ipset
> > or ebtables. If those are not installed, firewalld will log a warning
> > and continue with the functionality disabled.
> We're also using needs-recommends for perl packages / in
> pkg-perl-autopkgtest.
> % autodep8
> Test-Command: /usr/share/pkg-perl-autopkgtest/runner build-deps
> Depends: @, @builddeps@, pkg-perl-autopkgtest
> Test-Command: /usr/share/pkg-perl-autopkgtest/runner runtime-deps
> Depends: @, pkg-perl-autopkgtest
> Test-Command: /usr/share/pkg-perl-autopkgtest/runner runtime-deps-and-recommends
> Depends: @, pkg-perl-autopkgtest
> Restrictions: needs-recommends
> In practice, there's currently one test in the
> "runtime-deps-and-recommends" department: syntax.t which, among other
> things, does `perl -wc <perl module file>' and is helpful to detect
> syntax errors in code which is not used during build tests.
> Cf. also https://perl-team.pages.debian.net/autopkgtest.html#syntax.t
> The reason we need the packages in Recommends is quite simple: there
> are often modules in packages which are no core functionality, hence
> their dependencies are not in Depends but in Recommends.
> Without needs-recommends we would
> - need to exclude them from syntax.t (the machinery exists but it's
>   quite some work)
> - lose the ability to test them.
> So if needs-recommends vanishes, there will be at least dozens if not
> hundreds of perl packages which will immediately fail their
> autopkgtests.
> (josch's count of 154 affected packages in
> https://lists.debian.org/debian-ci/2018/06/msg00016.html
> fails to take all the autodep8 packages into account.)

Yes. We will need to find a replacement before dropping needs-recommends

Maybe we want autopkgtest to also support @recommends@ alongside
@builddeps@? This way tests that use @recommends@ would *depend* on the
packages in Recommends:, and thus fail if those become uninstallable.
This is contrary to the current status quo, where `Restrictions:
needs-recommends` doesn't actually ensure that the packages in
Recommends are installed.

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