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re: utnubu-desktop for the masses

On Sun, 2006-04-23 at 10:18, Joey Hess wrote:
> Gustavo Franco blogged:
> > In Ubuntu there' s ubuntu-meta source package that results in
> > [ubuntu-minimal][1], [ubuntu-standard][2] and [ubuntu-desktop][3]. They're
> > metapackages and the list of packages is built with a tool called germinate
> > based on a seed in the web. I've a [branch of cjwatson' ubuntu seed][4] and
> > asked him to upload [germinate][5] in Debian, he did! To avoid confusion, i've
> > renamed "our ubuntu-meta" to utnubu-meta and it will be included in [utnubu
> > alioth group ][6]in svn soon.
> I've very confused by the approach you are taking here. Debian already
> has its own way to install a desktop, namely tasksel's desktop tasks.
> Any help with maintaining that would be appreciated; but introducing a
> competing thing taken from Ubuntu into Debian doesn't seem at all
> helpful from my perspective, unless I've misunderstood what you're
> doing.
> This seems to be a metapackage that depends on 239 packages[3]. Debian
> has already rejected using large metapackages such as that for many
> reasons, including:
>  * The way they clog up britney by tying a lot of otherwise unrelated
>    packages together. (As a sometime member of the release team, I feel
>    like I'm in the shower seeing the shadow of a figure with a knife.)
>  * Their general fragility, breaking if any one semi-unimportant package
>    in the metapackage is removed from testing for any reason, or is
>    unavailable for any one architecture for any reason.
>  * Their all or nothing nature making it a pain to put them onto CDs,
>    if any one semi-unimportant package doesn't fit the whole metapackage
>    won't go on.
>  * Their lack of a clean way to remove the metapackage (semi-addressed by
>    aptitude).
> We tried it, it doesn't work for us[4]. I still have the scars. Tasksel
> avoids all of these problems. If you are interested in maintaining
> tasksel's desktop or other tasks, that could be arranged.

Metapackages are great.  Need to add KDE to a system?  Wham.  Done.
If you don't like them, don't install them.

Ideally, tasksel would be changed to use the dependencies of
any meta package WITHOUT installing the meta package.

* This would allow those who want to use tasksel followed by
  selective uninstall to do their thing.
* This would allow those who want to install meta packages to
  do their thing.
* Or any combination of the above.
* This would keep the two mechanisms in sync.
* This exposes the task recommendations to other package
  dependency/management systems rather than keeping them
  hidden in /usr/share/tasksel/debian-tasks.desc.
* This would avoid having to install 1.7MB of tasksel and
  write an extra parser in order to obtain 15KB of
  dependency info in /usr/share/tasksel/debian-tasks.desc.

--Mike Bird

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