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Re: APT [was Re: Is this really the right thing to do?]

Craig Sanders wrote:
> i can't understand what all the fuss is about.
> why are people proposing to clutter up dpkg and apt with "features" that
> aren't needed?  seems like a waste of time and effort to me, and adds
> bloat to programs which do not need it.

The proposed change would not change dpkg, just apt.
It would not affect other programs 'which do not need it' so how could
it bloat them?

> if you want to automatically remove packages which are no longer needed by
> other packages, then surely the correct thing to do is to have a
> (separate) tool which analyses the dependancy information and outputs a
> list of packages which have no dependancies, optionally offering a choice
> of removing them or not.

This is not feasible.  Most packages are not needed by other packages.
This tool would spit out a list of (almost) every non-library package
on the system.

The only way to keep this list reasonable is to be able to differentiate
which ones were installed explicitly and which ones were installed to
satisfy a dependency.  The only (reasonable) way to make this
differentiation is to have apt keep track of it.

> mostly, though, i can't see the point. what harm does it do to have a
> few extra libraries installed on a system? it's not like they actually
> cause any problems if they aren't used.

The benefits of the proposed change expand beyond just cleaning up
of crufty libraries.  Easy package grouping is a side benefit.

Also, as the number of packages in Debian continues to grow, I think
cruft control will become more important to maintainence and sanity.

> if disk space is at a premium, then the system admin should do some work
> to solve that problem....work which may involve manually removing some
> packages which aren't needed any more.



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