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Re: Default MTA and dependencies

On Nov 02, Tollef Fog Heen wrote:
> | Tollef> The dependencies on just mail-transport-agent is a bug, afaik,
> | 
> | Why? This looks just fine to me. Some programs just need a mail
> | transport agent, without any preference.
> Depending on only a virtual package gives APT hiccups, AFAIK.

More specifically, it confuses apt-get when:

- the package is really virtual (if apt can find a package with the
  name, it will install it... that's why you can depend on lynx, which
  is provided by other packages too)
- nothing installed provides the virtual package
- you want to install something depending on the virtual package
- more than one package provides the virtual package

Actually, "confuses" is too strong a word: it simply drops out and
asks you (perhaps not all that intuitively) to choose a package
providing it.  IMHO that's better behavior than simply picking the
first one in the hash that matches it (or else you might end up with
smail or something like that).

IIRC dselect doesn't have this problem.  I don't know about other apt
frontends (but since they are more interactive, I don't think it would
be the same problem as for apt-get--you want the user to pick in that
situation, IMHO).

So that's the "why do it".  In the case of m-t-a, it's very hard to
end up with a Debian install lacking an mta (Exim is priority
important), so I'm not sure specifying exim | m-t-a accomplishes
anything except making lintian happy.

Chris Lawrence <cnlawren@olemiss.edu> - http://www.lordsutch.com/chris/

Instructor and Doctoral Student, Political Science, Univ. of Mississippi
208 Deupree Hall - 662-915-5765

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