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Re: Dummy packages and metapackages (call for consistency in the descriptions)


I'm forewarding this posting (see
for the whole thread) to debian-custom because it seems to require some action
on our side.  While I'm currently to busy to start a "renaming effort" in our
docs and packages, we should think about a reasonable wording for the things
we used to call meta packages.  The arguing of Henrique is reasonable even if
I'm not completely convinced.  So what do you think about it.  IMHO we should
discuss this issue here instead of bloating debian-devel and post a summarize
to the thread once we found a consensus.  (I admit that I personally hate naming
discussions, but I hat the confusion wrong names might cause even more.)

Kind regards


On Thu, 3 Nov 2005, Henrique de Moraes Holschuh wrote:

On Wed, 02 Nov 2005, Andreas Tille wrote:
On Tue, 1 Nov 2005, Henrique de Moraes Holschuh wrote:
Well, I'd expect meta packages to have nothing on them

Why?  Was there any other definition than the link I posted that leads to
this assumption?

The link you posted has never bothered me before, I have zero contact with
CDDs other than talking to Otavio a lot (and not about CDDs either).  But
from context, I'd assume that the link would tell me that "meta package" can
contain non-metadata... (checks)... that's correct.

Your links do *NOT* lead to the assumption that meta-packages only contain
packaging system metadata, in fact, they are quite explicit on the opposite.

And I don't recall ever reading any document that would lead me to believe
that meta-packages contain useful packaged data (as opposed to metadata for
the packaging system), other than the CDD URL you posted, and which I just
read for the first time.

Let me do something I should have done before: google-search for the
earliest results of 'meta-package' in our lists.

Read http://lists.debian.org/debian-policy/1999/07/msg00340.html.

That was a huge deployment inside Debian, and it certainly fixed in memory
what many of us  expected meta-packages to mean:  packages whose only
function is to depend on/recommend/conflict/suggest others.  I am quite sure
these efforts (that begun well before 1997/07) were the source for the "it
contains only packaging system metadata" definition of meta-package I am
used to.

I have found other uses of "meta-package", most of them limited to one
thread or another (and not something that hit the archive).  Some of those
implied packages that have content (such as

After that (non-exaustive) search, IMHO it is CDD who is trying to change
the meaning of meta-package, sorry.

So, I still think CDD should drop the meta- prefix from anything that
contains useful data.  CDD "meta-packages" are really superstructure
packages, IMHO you should name them accordingly.

I personally have no problem with packages using the CDD definition of
"meta-packages" *as long as* any and ALL package descriptions of either
meta- prefixed packages, or that claim that a package is a meta-package,
fully describe the package's contents so that it is obvious it has more than
packaging metadata in it.  Heck, maybe you guys already put all that
information inside the package descriptions, I didn't check.

What I mean with the above is, that a "debian-med" package would, if it
includes "meta-package" anywhere in its description, also state that it
includes menu definitions, configuration for other packages, etc.  If it
doesn't do it already, which it might.

But I still like "This is the Debian Med superstructure package" better.

 "One disk to rule them all, One disk to find them. One disk to bring
 them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
 where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot
 Henrique Holschuh

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