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Re: Are pure virtual Depends/Recommends entries bugs?

On Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 10:55:18PM -0500, Daniel Burrows wrote:
>   As I'm sure everyone knows, pure virtual entries in a Depends line are
> strongly deprecated, due to the fact that frontends have a tendency to pick
> a random provider of the package.  What I'm not sure is if this is just "ugly"
> or actually considered a bug.  In particular, I can't remember and would like
> to know:
>   (a) Is a pure virtual entry with no prior alternative in a Depends line an
>       actual bug?  i.e., do we have a consensus on this?
>   (b) If the answer to (a) is "yes", is a pure virtual *Recommendation* a bug?
>       Rationale: Recommendations are intended to be installed by default, so
>       their fields should be just as friendly to automatic tools as Depends is.

I don't think a pure virtual dependency (or recommendation) should be a
bug. If there is really no reason to choose one provider or another, why
choose one artificially?

I expect a tool like aptitude might pick the candidate with highest
priority, or else one at random (or the first one in some sort order).

A package maintainer could pick one this way too, but then it's one more
thing to maintain.

Steinar mentioned problems with pure virtual build-deps. Those should
work too. In the past bugs have been filed about those, but I think
those are a problem because of bugs in the auto-build tools, rather than
being an intrinsic problems with the deps.

Hamish Moffatt VK3SB <hamish@debian.org> <hamish@cloud.net.au>

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