Suggestion for change to debian package format
The debian package format is very nice and quite sophisticated, but I
feel it lacks in one area. Let me illustrate.
Suppose I want to install a number of major application packages. In
the process of selecting them, dselect tells me, or suggests to me,
that I install a number of other packages. Over time, my system
builds up a whole range of installed packages, many only there as a
result of a dependency or suggestion.
Now what happens when later I decide that I no longer need a certain
package. I remove the package --- but unless I'm very dilligent, I
don't remove all the packages that this package depends on or
suggests. So after time, the system builds up quite a number of
packages which are installed for no good reason. That is, they were
once installed in order to support some other package, but now that
package is removed and so they serve no purpose. All they do is take
up disk space, and for some (like me), space is a premium.
Now to go through all the installed packages and work out which are in
this category and which aren't is quite a difficult and laborious
task. I would like to suggest that a small change be made to the
debian package format so that dselect or apt could do this for us. At
the moment you can mark a package for "install", "remove", "hold" etc.
I suggest the "install" option be broken into two new options, namely
"major install" and "minor install" with the following meanings:
"major install": you definately want to install this package
"minor install": you want to install this package provided it is needed
by a major installed package --- if ever this is no longer true, you want
Perhaps there is a better solution, but this is the one I thought of.
What do people think?
"They told me I was gullible ... and I believed them!"