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[CTTE #681834] network-manager as Recommends or Depends

The technical committee was asked to consider overrulling the
gnome-core metapackage maintainer's decision that gnome-core Depends:
on network-manager. The committee has decided to overrule this
decision. gnome-core should Recommends: network-manager, and the
release team is requested to allow a gnome-core package which
implements this change into wheezy.

The full text of the decision is below:


1. The gnome-core metapackage is intended to reflect the core of the
   GNOME desktop environment: the basic tools and subsystems that
   together constitute GNOME.  The gnome metapackage is intended to
   reflect the broader desktop environment, including extra components
   and applications.

2. network-manager is the GNOME network control system, and is
   recommended for most GNOME users.  Some Debian GNOME users don't like
   some of network-manager's behavior and prefer to instead use other
   tools, either basic ifupdown or other frameworks such as wicd.

3. In squeeze, the gnome metapackage lists network-manager in Recommends
   but not Depends.  In wheezy, currently, network-manager has moved from
   gnome to gnome-core, and from Recommends to Depends.  This represents
   a substantially increased insistance that users of the GNOME
   metapackages have network-manager installed; specifically, there is no
   longer any way to install any but the most minimal GNOME metapackage
   (gnome-session) without installing network-manager, and users who have
   gnome or gnome-core installed but have removed or never installed
   network-manager will have network-manager installed during an upgrade
   from squeeze.

4. For most applications and components, the only drawback of this would
   be some additional disk space usage, since the application, despite
   being installed, wouldn't need to be used.  However, network-manager
   assumes that, if it is installed, it should attempt to manage the
   system's network configuration.  It attempts to avoid overriding local
   manual configuration, but it isn't able to detect all cases where the
   user is using some other component or system to manage networking.
   The user has to take separate, explicit (and somewhat unusual for the
   average user) action to disable network-manager after it has been

5. The Technical Committee believes that this will cause undesireable
   behavior for upgrades from squeeze, and (of somewhat lesser
   importance) will make it more difficult than necessary for GNOME users
   to swap network management components, something for which there
   appears to be noticable demand.  We therefore believe that
   network-manager should be moved to Recommends in gnome-core.

6. Please note that this is not a general statement about GNOME
   components.  It is very specific to network-manager because all of the
   following apply:

   (i) The package takes action automatically because it is installed,
      rather than being a component that can either be run or not at the
      user's choice.

   (ii) The package has historically been recommended rather than listed
      as a dependency, so existing Debian users are used to that
      behavior and will expect it to be preserved during upgrades.

   (ii) There is both demonstrable, intentional widespread replacement of
      that package by Debian GNOME users and no significant loss of
      unrelated GNOME desktop functionality by replacing it with a
      different component.

   If any of these points did not apply, the situation would be
   significantly different.


7. The Technical Committee overrules the decision of the gnome-core
   metapackage maintainers.  The dependency from gnome-core to
   network-manager-gnome should be downgraded to Recommends.

8. The Technical Committee requests that the Release Managers unblock
  the update to implement this decision, so that this change may be
  released in wheezy.

=== END ===

Complete logs of the discussion of this CTTE issue may be found in the
BTS at http://bugs.debian.org/681834 and in the debian-ctte list

Don Armstrong

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die
together or we are going to learn to live together and if we are to
live together we have to talk. 
 -- Eleanor Roosevelt

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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