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Re: General exclusion-package package (was: Bug#138541: ITP: debian-sanitize)

On Thu, Mar 21, 2002 at 09:17:29AM -0600, Steve Greenland wrote:
> Very clever turn of the phrase, but it doesn't apply. Ben asked about a
> package that would let him specify a list of arbitrary conflicts. The
> equivs package will do this, safely and cleanly. The fact that you can
> also use it to specify other package relationships, some of which may
> lead to problems if used unwisely, doesn't make it inapropriate for the
> desired use.

For the record, I found your comment helpful, and didn't take it as

> Now, if you or anyone else wants to provide a castrated version of
> equivs that only supports "Conflicts:", I certainly won't object. But
> my point was that equivs is an existing, working solution to Ben's
> goal.

A bit of clarification here.  My goal is to redirect people's misguided
efforts to introduce blacklists into Debian.  Construction and maintenance
of blacklists is not, IMHO, a valid Debian developer activity.  Instead, I
tried to identify the real technical issue: how to either remove a
well-defined group of packages at once, or prevent them from being installed
in the first place, and focus the interested parties' attention on that
technical goal.

I just wanted to make this clear, in case anyone got the impression that I
wanted to build such tools, or that such tools would address any problem
that I personally need to solve to further my own work within Debian.

Now in fact, when it comes to design & implementation, I now think equivs
is the wrong way to go about it.  I would rather see support for:

tasksel install <locally-defined task>


tasksel remove <taskname>

This addresses three problems at once:

1. how do I get a task off my system that I no longer want?

2. how do I make a local task?

3. how do I make a local anti-task (the sole purpose of which is the
   removal of a list of packages I don't want on my system)?

I cannot think of a case where the logical fourth alternative exists, that
is a Debian-provided "anti-task".  In fact, by definition, if tasksel remove
is implemented, every existing task is also an anti-task, and every anti-
task can also be used as a task.  So if someone were to introduce an
"anti-task" into Debian, nothing prevents it being used to *install*
objectionable material instead of the reverse.  Only local policy makes an
anti-task an anti-task.

    nSLUG       http://www.nslug.ns.ca      synrg@sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
    Debian      http://www.debian.org       synrg@debian.org
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