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Re: Depends vs. Recommends

Helmut Wollmersdorfer <helmut.wollmersdorfer@gmx.at> wrote:

> IMHO these options give you the choice. I disagree to change
> recommends' to 'depends', because it should be the users choice to
> install 'minimal' or 'full', but this choice should be as convenient
> as possible.
> Nowadays it is more or less a standard in 'other' (package or OS)
> installers, e.g. Win, Office, Suse, Fedora, to let the user choose
> between
> - minimum  ~ 'depends'
> - standard ~ 'recommends'
> - full     ~ 'suggests'
> Also a mode called 'expert' or 'customized' is provided, which allows
> navigation through package/feature relationships.

I think this is a different thing.  It might be a worthwile goal to
introduce something like this in Debian.  But currently "Depends" means
"everything that is needed for the core parts of the functionality" (or
"significant functionality" as the Policy puts it.  

In many cases this includes more packages than are required for the
installation to succeed.  And IMO it includes everything that is needed
to at least get a decent error message from the executables that won't
work without installing additional packages.  Imagine a package that
includes scripts in Perl or Python, it does a sensible thing even
without them, but it isn't feasible or doesn't make sense to write shell
wrapper scripts with "please install python" error messages for all of
them.  In this case, I think the package should depend on the scripting
language, and not require the user to look into README.Debian to learn
what he has to do to get rid of

bash: /home/frank/bin/testnointerpreter: /usr/bin/pearl: bad interpreter: No such file or directory

which might well be hidden if the script is invoked by some graphical

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

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