[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Bug#212049: "dependency" used backwards



Package: general
Version: n/a?

Debian seems to use the word "dependency" backwards a lot, making
things confusing and hard to understand.

Per the The American Heritage Dictionary (via
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=dependency), a dependency
is:
    1. Dependence. 
    2. Something dependent or subordinate. 
    3. A territory under the jurisdiction of a state of
       which it does not form an integral part. 

Note the "direction" of sense 2:  If A depends on B, then A is a 
dependency (A is dependent on B).  B is _not_ a dependency of A.


In Debian (documentation, executable output, e-mail), uses of 
"dependency" in sense 1 are usually fine.

However, uses in sense 2 are usually backwards (see bugs 212028,
212013, and especially 212034, which also shows how weak an 
understanding some Debian developers have of the word).


Obviously, Debian documentation and tools (and developers) shouldn't 
use "dependency" backwards.  

(Well, that should be obvious, but if it isn't, consider the confusion
it generates.  Given the international nature of Debian, consider 
readers who aren't native speakers of English, trying to figure out
what "dependency" means in English and then trying to figure out what
Debian documentation/etc. is really saying.)


Since merely using "dependency" correctly would be ambiguous given
all the incorrect usage, Debian should probably refer to "depended-on 
package" (or library, etc., as the case may be).  That construct would 
be unambiguous and perfectly clear (and wouldn't be much longer than "dependency").



Daniel
-- 
Daniel Barclay
dsb@smart.net



Reply to: