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Re: better install disks

In tom.lists.debian-devel, you wrote:
> exactly. we should encourage people who want to add specialized
> functionality to fork the boot disks package rather than the whole system.
> i know that the debian policy allows project forks, and that's key to the
> free software ideals, but i think for the benefit of everyone, we should
> point out the people that want to do this that there is a less damaging way.

Just some thoughts that I've been having... but I think that there are
only a few minor changes that would be needed to enable "virtual
distributions" on top of Debian.

The biggest one I can think of at the moment would be to break the 
Suggests and Recommends fields out of the deb files themselves,
leaving only the Depends field. This way, the package files themselves
would only need to mention packages that they actually depend on. 

The Suggests and Recommends fields could then be placed into a
separate file that accompanies the deb to the server. A scanpackages
program would take them into account when generating the Packages
file. Other scanpackages-like programs could edit the fields before
adding them into Package files, based on rules given to them. The
rules could generate things like Debian-1cd (a distro that fits on a
cd and doesn't mention any files not on that 1 cd) and
Debian-CompletelyFree (a distro in which no package even Suggests a
non-free one). As far as the package tools go, they don't even notice
the other files found on the server, unless the user tells them to.

Does this make any sense to anyone?

In other news, debdiff (now renamed gendebpatch) began working today,
I'm now starting work on debpatch, the flip side of gendebpatch. I'll
do a first release when both package work, although not with all
features or the best performance.
Tom Rothamel --------- http://onegeek.org/~tom/ ---------- Using GNU/Linux
	"Students who successfully accomplish this task will be given 
	 extra credit (and a complete psychiatric examination)."
		- Andrew S. Tannenbaum, _Structured Computer Organization_

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