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Re: the Recommends control field (was: dselect survey)

Steve Greenland writes,

> Hmm... I'd have said that a) was the preferred interpetation; if a
> package foo is effectively useless with a Recommended item bar, then bar
> should, in fact, be a Depends, even if foo will start without bar. I
> tend to think of Recommends as "strong Suggests".

Good point.  Since I happen to maintain a foo (debram-data) and a
bar (debram) which fit your formula, may I use them as an example?
Debram's bulky architecture-independent data is split out into a
separate debram-data binary to conserve archive space.  With the split,
only the small core debram binary needs separate compiling and storage
for each architecture.  The split has no other significant purpose; it
is to conserve archive space.  Normal users want to install debram and
debram-data together: neither or both.

The trouble is, if each binary Depended on the other, then at
installation time which one would be configured first?  Each binary
package would demand that the other be configured first.

In the example, debram Depends on debram-data while debram-data
Recommends debram.  In this way, the two binaries normally always go
together to form a complete software installation, but debram-data is
configured first.  As a separate matter, debram Suggests debtags,
because it is felt that most debram users would want debtags, too; but
as debram is usable without debtags, this only a Suggests.

> So it is likely that Policy does, in fact, need clarification, but I'd
> expect long discussion about what the clarification should be.

Thaddeus H. Black
508 Nellie's Cave Road
Blacksburg, Virginia 24060, USA
+1 540 961 0920, t@b-tk.org

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