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update-alternatives and ispell dictionaries

Ian Jackson wrote ...
> What you're trying to do is give the user a list of the available
> languages and have them choose one once, I think.

Yes, that's right, but they must be asked that every time a dictionary is
installed.  And we have to cover for the situation when the default is 
removed - an alternative, if it exists should be linked.

> IMO the right thing to do is to write a different script, which asks
> the user which dictionary they want, offering them the choice of the
> ones in /usr/dict or wherever.

> Perhaps update-alternatives could be extended to do this at some later
> point, but it would have to be called in the preinst as well as the
> postinst, with different options, so that by the time the first
> postinst runs all the info is available.

I've been thinking, dangerous I know, but I know what I'd like to see
out of this, as a package maintainer...

Perhaps update-alternatives (well, the maintainers really) could
reserve a priority number for the system administrator's choice of
default, say 999 or something.  No Debian package would be allowed to
request a higher priority.  If the postinst of another package
requests this reserved priority, then the priority of the existing
chosen default would be reduced, either by one, or to a number given
by another argument, or what have you.

Anyway, this would mean that when the package which owns the current
default set of links (999 priority) is removed, its postrm script
could prompt for which package to promote to the default.  The list of
available packages is available from update-alternatives already I
think, isn't it?

I feel it's important to use excellent tools such as
update-alternatives instead of trying to maintain a set of my own
buggy scripts which require yet another location to store state
information, 90% of which is already in /etc/alternatives and

Anyone want to follow up?  I'll probably try this out tomorrow, and
find I haven't thought it through completely :)

Best wishes,


PS. Some people may know me from my old <kenny@presence.co.uk>
address.  Please do not send mail there, as it will not bounce, yet I
do not have access to that old account anymore. Many thanks.

| <K.MacDonald@ed.ac.uk> "http://www.glg.ed.ac.uk/~kenny";  Try Linux!  |
| Portuguese/English/French Translations/Teaching by Native Portuguese |
| <H.Taborda@ed.ac.uk> "http://www.glg.ed.ac.uk/~kenny/Helena.html";    |

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