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Re: Non-interactive install proposal

On Tue, Jun 02, 1998 at 09:48:46PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> 	What is the benefit of keeping packages in an unconfigured
>  state?

   It's a reminder to me that I need to configure this package still.

> This shall certainly play havoc with large scale upgrades,
>  when latter packages require earlier packages to be configured.

   No worse than the current situation.  There aren't that many Predepends
at the moment.   For instance, I unpack mesa

dpkg --unpack -B mesag2_2.6-4.deb
Preparing to replace mesag2 2.6-3 (using mesag2_2.6-4.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement mesag2 ...
dpkg --audit
 mesag2               A 3-D graphics library which uses the OpenGL API [libc6].

dpkg --status xlockmore-gl
Status: install ok installed
Depends: libc6, mesag2 (>= 2.6), xlib6g (>= 3.3-5), xpm4g (>= 3.4j-0)

   xlockmore-gl didn't deconfigure.  It still works.  Now perhaps xlockmore-gl
*should* be marked as unconfigured, but it currently isn't.  If mesag2 asked
a question (it doesn't) and were killed, it could still meet other package's
dependency requirements (the library is present to link against).  mesag2
just can't meet a Predependency.

> 	Why is the prospect of asking the questions a priori or an
>  interactive configuraion supposedly so vastly inferior? 

   It's mostly a question of when they get asked.  At the moment, all
packages are configured at once.  During a major upgrade, 90% of packages
configure without human intervention.  The remaining 10% are scattered among
them, resulting in about 90% wasted time waiting for prompts.  Emacs and
TeX in particular take a considerable amount of time to configure, but don't
usually ask questions.
   Under apt, the interactive stage will be even longer, as you have
the unpacking and possibly download times mixed in with the configure time.
It will be an even longer wait between questions.
   An alternative is to configure the 90% of packages that don't ask
questions immediately, and configure the remaining 10% at your convenience.
And file wishlist items against the informational pauses..

> 	Has anyone actually tried upgrading severl hundred packages at
>  a time? 

   Yes, last night.  I'd have gone home an hour earlier if I could have left
the questioning packages in an unconfigured state.

>  run, and a study of what happens to the install when packages are
>  left unconfigured.

   This happens to me frequently under dselect.  I'll start a machine
upgrading and leave for a while, get busy, and not check the window for a
day.  Most times the user (or me) doesn't even know their system is halfway
through an upgrade with 90 packages left unconfigured, because they've all
unpacked and the first one is asking a question.  I'd like the option of
ignoring that question until later and having the rest configure themselves.

   For a compute farm, I'd definitely prefer to eliminate as many questions
as possible, but when a question does arise, I'm probably doing a
non-interactive install anyway (in an iconified window or something), and
would rather it continue with easier packages and ask me again later.

Dr. Drake Diedrich, Research Officer - Computing, (02)6279-8302
John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University 0200
Replies to other than Drake.Diedrich@anu.edu.au will be routed off-planet

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