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Re: Fwd: apt-get dist-upgrade will remove metapackages

* Daniel Burrows [Tue, 05 Apr 2005 22:09:49 -0400]:

  [Explanation of how aptitude's smart "This pacakge was automatically
  installed" mechanism breaks badly with metapackages, when removing one
  of the dependencies triggers the removal of the metapackage, and then
  all the other dependencies get removed too because they were 'auto'
  and nothing depends on them once the metapackage is to be removed.]

>   This sort of thing has made it into sarge in the past -- I got a report from 
> one user who had to reinstall KDE after something like this.  I haven't made 
> up my mind yet whether the problem is that apt doesn't know about removing 
> unneeded packages, that aptitude doesn't somehow tell apt about this, or that 
> metapackages are a dreadful abuse of the packaging system.

  I've discussed in the past with other KDE packagers about the headaches
  that metapackages with everything on their Depends line give us.

  We have considered moving most dependencies to recommends, and explicitly
  note in the description that "This package has to be installed with
  the following command: `aptitude install --with-recomends <package>`"
  (apt-get does not have such option, that I know of). The metapackage
  would keep some minimal stuff in the depends line, but that decision
  is not relevant here.

  Anyway, that would be a solution local to the KDE metapackages (though
  I believe other sets of metapackages are doing it like that), but it's
  certainly suboptimal.

  I've wanted for some time now to bring this issue to discussion,
  namely, if some improvments at package-management tools level could be
  done in order to make (big) metapackages less troublesome. I'm taking
  chance now and doing so. (CC'ing -devel, please drop -release if not
  relevant there.)


Adeodato Simó
    EM: asp16 [ykwim] alu.ua.es | PK: DA6AE621
Any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of a
single moment: the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all,
who he is.
                -- Jorge Luis Borges

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