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Smarter preconfiguration (Re: Porting Xconfigurator to Debian!)

On Thu, Dec 05, 2002 at 10:00:21AM +0100, Josselin Mouette wrote:

> The configure script is usually launched before the Pre-Depends are even
> installed. There is currently no way to ensure a package is installed at
> configuration time.

A non-essential package, anyway.  Essential is probably plenty for asking
questions, and there are those who would argue that that is all that should
happen at preconfiguration time.

However, in order to provide hardware detection and other kinds of dynamic
defaults, dynamic question ordering/suppression based on the state of the
system, etc., more tools are needed.  If autodetection doesn't run until
the package is configured, the results can't be used to provide intelligent
prompting (which would clearly be the most intuitive behaviour).

Some packages, notably xserver-xfree86, already implement some autodetection
at preconfiguration time, but since the autodetection tools are not normally
installed (neither during initial system installation nor when installing on
an existing system), I doubt more than a few users have noticed this amidst
rants of lacking autodetection.

 - mdz

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