Library packages and their use
The discussion about the libc6-dev package and its headers let me to the
impression that the Debian package structure isn't optimal for
libraries. If anyone wants to build his own version of a package (i.e.
libwxgtk2.4) he has to get all the dependent underlying dev packages as
well. This is a long line of dependencies which mostly aren't wished and
shouldn't be necessary. The problem arises because the 2 usual package
lines (normal and dev packages) don't fit well with the needs of the
There are 3 kinds of dissimilar user groups of a package:
1. Users just using a library linked to other packages
2. Developers building packages which depends on a library package
3. Developers building his own version of this library package
Currently group 1 just uses the "normal" packages while group 2 + 3 have
both to use the "dev" packages. Especially for group 2 this isn't a good
solution leading to a long line of unnecessary dependencies.
Solution 1: Splitting the 2 packages into 3. Not very attractive, it
will more confuse than improve the situation. Maybe the dbg packages
could take over the role of the 3. group.
Solution 2: Packages are changed that group 1 + 2 can use the normal
packages and only group 3 uses the dev. That means the normal library
packages contain enough so that other packages depending on this can be
Solution 3: Normal packages are for group 1, dev packages are for group
2 and group 3 has to get anything needed by other means (i.e. CVS).
Usually group 3 is rather small and they tend to get anything by CVS
I'm not sure if any of the above solutions will improve the situation
but we should all try to remove dependencies wherever possible. And I'm
not sure if any library package can be split this way but it should be
See "http://wxguide.sourceforge.net/" for ideas how to design your app.