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Re: Bug#212049: "dependency" used backwards

On Mon, 2003-09-22 at 00:24, Daniel B. wrote in part:
> Debian seems to use the word "dependency" backwards a lot, making
> things confusing and hard to understand.
> If A depends on B, then A is a 
> dependency (A is dependent on B).  B is _not_ a dependency of A.

The word 'dependency' can denote the relation between A and B ;
then it isn't oriented one way or the other, e.g., 'There is a
dependency between A and B'.  To indicate the orientation you have
to say something like 'A depends on B'.

I think you make a worthwhile point that in some cases the
direction of the dependency should be indicated more clearly.

> 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).

You meant #212031.

> 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").

Suppose we are talking about A.  Then your complaint is that

                     A's dependencies

is ambiguous between denoting the packages that depend on A and
the packages upon which A depends.  I don't see how

                     A's depended-on packages

is any clearer.  Actually it seems worse to me.  I suggest using

                   packages upon which A depends
                   packages that depend on A

wherever the ambiguity matters.

Thomas Hood <jdthood@yahoo.co.uk>

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