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Re: Package priorities and dependencies.

Charles Briscoe-Smith <cpb4@ukc.ac.uk> wrote:
> I have a suggestion for libraries:  most users don't want or need to
> know about shared libraries when installing and upgrading their system,
> or when adding an app etc.

I totally agree here.  The Debian package format includes enough information 
to make manual selection of shared libraries unnecessary in most cases.  The 
selections could be automatic depending on the choice of "user level" packages.

> There should be a flag, similar to "Essential: yes" -- perhaps
> "Internal: yes", which would be noticed by dselect.  The user could
> then ask dselect to 'hide' all internal packages.  This would mean that
> they wouldn't clutter up the dselect packages list, they would be
> selected -quietly- when a depending package is selected (not forcing a
> trip to the dependencies screen), and they might even be automatically
> marked for removal whenever no more packages depend on them.

Sounds good.  Moreover, hiding "internal" packages should be the default 
behaviour, while displaying them should be reserved for experts.
> Of course, there must be a way to switch off this behaviour and make
> all packages visible, just as it's possible to override dependencies.
> If you think about it, there's really no reason to select a shared
> library package by hand; if you want a binary that uses it, it'll
> depend on it; if you want to build against it, you install the -dev
> package (which depends on it).  The only time you really want to select
> it by hand is when another package had faulty dependencies, or when
> you're installing a non .deb'ed binary.

Agree again.  Shared libraries (and even other support packages like, for example, those containing run time programs needed by libraries) could be selected in a totally automatic fashion.  Even more, I don't think it's necessary that the user takes care of dependency problems directly.  We should allow users to make a basically arbitrary selection of packages without signaling any conflict problems, and let dpkg automatically determine which packages are needed for the selections to run, and install them properly.  All the information needed to do that is currently available, all we have to do is using it.

Have the Deity guys considered something along these lines?

M. S.
Martin A. Soto J.                           Profesor
Departamento de Ingenieria de Sistemas y Computacion
Universidad de los Andes      masoto@uniandes.edu.co

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