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Re: install impressions

On Mon, 2002-07-15 at 08:31, Colin Watson wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 15, 2002 at 02:25:51PM +0200, martin f krafft wrote:
> > installing the xserver packages did not pull xfonts-base onto the
> > system, so startx/xdm failed with "could not open default font
> > 'fixed'". that's also not an easy problem to get around for people who
> > don't know the field that well...
> The X server packages shouldn't depend on fonts, since you might have
> them on an external font server. The x-window-system-core metapackage is
> there for people who want a basic X installation.

You know, one way to solve this problem might be to have the notion of
"system profiles", and allow packages to Depend: or Recommend: other
packages depending on the system profile.

For example, the Debian installer could offer the user a choice between
"Standalone Graphical Workstation", "Server", and other ones.  Then it
would write that to, say, /etc/dpkg/system-profile.

And the GNOME metapackage could say:

Profile-Depends: xserver-xfree86 [standalone-graphical-workstation]

Or something like that; it's a bit ugly to fit into rfc822 syntax.  And
this would work for the X server packages themselves, so the fonts get
installed when necessary, without the user needing to know the
difference between "x-window-system" and the other X packages.

Once we teach dpkg and apt about this, then someone could just say:

aptitude install gnome

And things would generally Just Work.  I haven't thought this through a
lot; maybe there are flaws I'm not seeing.  It would certainly
complicate package management a bit; it might not be worth it.

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