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Re: Comments on Debian packages and installation

On Tue, Jan 05, 1999 at 12:51:46AM +0100, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> RMS did not ask us to break dselect. It was your proposal to change dselect
> in a broken way. Just because your proposal turned out not to work correctly
> doesn't mean that there is no way to satisfy RMS's wish (if we should do that
> is another type of question).
> What RMS asked us is, if we could change dselect so it does not tell the
> user that something non-free is missing if it isn't. This implies not to
> suggest to install not available non-free packages. I support this motion.
> (Sorry for the many "not"s in this paragraph :)
> Obviously, tetex-nonfree has features which extend tetex. But do they work
> very well? Maybe, but it is NOT free software. So, how can we suggest to
> install it? This is an ethical or political issue, not a technical.
> The open question is in fact the following:
> IF the user has specified a non-free archive, can we provide a technical way
> to make dselect suggest non-free packages when installing main packages?
> But IF the user has not specified a non-free archive, no such unm,et
> suggestions should be displayed.
> Currently, we don't have the facility. Your proposal solved it only partly,
> making dselect ignore all unmet suggestions. The logical consequence is that
> your proposal is flawed, and we need to use another one if we want it this
> way.
Assume for a moment we're using apt as the selection method.

Apt comes preset for a range of US mirror sites in a file marked sources.list

_Really cool_ - Ask the user a question - "Which country are you in"

[Select from the usual list that starts with ??Angola and ends with Zimbabwe]

Prompt that  either - The Debian mirrors in that country are <blahblah>


"Sorry, there are no mirrors in that country. You could try main mirrors
in US/Europe/Africa/Pacific as follows:

US - 

<select one>

"This method of selection does not include non-free software by default.
Debian classes any software that does not meet the Debian Free Software
guidelines as non-free.  Do you wish to include mirrors in your list
which may include contributed and non-free software?"

Organise this as follows
For each major mirror - 
have a  


and symlink these as appropriate to sources.list.

A similar approach could work well for Debian-non-US (or whatever the
crypto/patent restricted archive ends up being called).

For CD's - the multi-cd method "knows" how many CD's are installed but for 
APT you could ask 

"Did your vendor offer CD's containing non-free/contributed software?
Do you wish to include these in your selections [N/y]

Does this help ??


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