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Re: Bug#30739: When a tiny part of a package uses non-free libraries

brian@debian.org (Brian Mays) writes:

> This is incorrect.  Packages currently in the distribution can and do 
> "Suggest" library packages required for some of their applications to 
> run, and I have yet to see anything in the Debian policy documents that 
> expressly forbids this practice.  The reason that you are not aware of 
> this is that usually the executables that have this problem are rarely 
> used and provide some sort of extra functionality, such as 
> configuration or an X interface.

I haven't thought about this alot, but I really tend to think that
*any* executable in the standard PATH should, after a successful
installation, always be expected to work.  I guess I assumed that this
was already policy.  Do we really have scripts in /usr/bin /bin,
etc. for interpreters that aren't installed?

If so, I'm not really comfortable with that.  Say some average user is
browsing manpages, and comes across some interesting tool named, say
"foobar", and then tries to run it, and gets this:

  $ foobar
  bash: ./foobar: No such file or directory

because its interpreter #!/usr/bin/baz was not installed.  How in the
world would they figure out what was going on.  Certainly not the most
intuitive error message...

> The comment about cardinfo would not be placed in the documentation, 
> but in the description of the package (i.e., the "Description" field), 
> which I hope the user would read before installing it.

This may apply for cardinfo, but it's a bad general solution for more
general packages considered in the context of multi-user systems.
Those users will never see that message.

Rob Browning <rlb@cs.utexas.edu> PGP=E80E0D04F521A094 532B97F5D64E3930

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