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Re: Advices, comments? Bug#345651: passwd package should be essential?

On Fri, Jan 06, 2006 at 06:38:47PM +0100, Christian Perrier wrote:
> I tend to agree with Kurt opinions below and thus, I'm tempted to make
> passwd "Essential: yes". The opinions in the shadow package
> maintenance team slightly vary.

> However, given that this is an important decision, I think it is a
> good idea to get the advice of fellow developers. So, please
> comment....

It's not just a good idea, it's the Policy (3.8).

For my part, I think this sounds like a bad idea.  We should be very sparing
in our use of the Essential: yes flag; I think we really should not be using
it *except* for packages that we require to be functional when in an
unconfigured state.  The passwd package certainly doesn't qualify in this
regard.  Making the package Essential just to cover other packages' failure
to depend on it while it was virtually-essential also seems dodgy; btw, it
wasn't virtually-essential in woody, so packages really shouldn't have had a
chance to get too buggily accustomed to having it around.

> So why do I think passwd needs to be essential?

> There are several things in the package that one might
> want to run from one of the maintainer scripts from
> debconf, like useradd, groupadd, userdel, ...

First, I can't see any reason why you would want to call these commands from
a *config* script; that smells of abuse to me.  Second, assuming there is a
reason to ever call one of these commands from the debconf script, standard
procedure for any non-essential .config dependency is to check for the
executable and defer configuration to the postinst if it's not yet unpacked.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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