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Re: Files which want to be different in different packages

Does anyone other than Bill Mitchell have any comments on this
subject ?  I don't think Bill's comments have been particularly
enlightening for me; I'd like some feedback from other people too.

You don't have to follow my argument with Bill either - please feel
free to start with my initial message in this thread (ie, with this
Subject line).

Bill Mitchell writes ("Re: Files which want to be different in different packages"):
> Ian Jackson <iwj10@cus.cam.ac.uk> said
> > My proposal in this area is intended to avoid having to ask questions.
> I question that presumption that it's necessary to go to these
> lenghts to avoid asking questions.  I question whether it's
> advisable to guess at the system installer's desires rather than
> asking him.

If we took this approach everywhere (refusing to guess a default
installation) installing Debian wouldn't be as easy as it is.

It has consistently been our policy to give the user a sensible
default situation with a minimum of interaction and querying, but to
arrange to preserve any modifications the user makes to the

I am very strongly of the opinion that this is a good policy, and I
hope and believe that the other members of the project agree.

> [...]
> It doesn't seem to me that it's necessary to jump through hoops
> to avoid asking what the user wnats to do about resolving collisions
> when the user installs two or more packages which want to install
> files at the same pathname.  It doesn't seem to me that the best
> approach is to guess at what the user's desires might be.  Better
> to ask him what he really wants to do, and get it right.

Once again you have failed to recognise that there are several more
specific possibilities here than just `two or more packages which want
to install files at the same pathname'.  The general possibility is
not a useful one for deciding what the behaviour would be, because it
refuses to allow consideration of the differences between the various
types of conflict.


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