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Re: Reasons for recommends and suggests

On Thu, May 17, 2007 at 06:22:11PM +0100, Neil Williams <linux@codehelp.co.uk> was heard to say:
> On Thu, 17 May 2007 11:29:16 +0200
> Hendrik Sattler <debian@hendrik-sattler.de> wrote:
> > My problem with the current situation that you either do the policy of always
> > installing such stuff or you don't. There is no way to decide case by case
> > because there is definitely information missing in the description of
> > packages.
> You install a Recommends or Suggests when you want to use some part of
> the package that uses it. The obvious place to document such
> requirements is the manpage for the optional script. In most cases,
> users simply don't need to use those options.

  When aptitude displays its list of "here's what I'll do", there's
a section for packages being automatically installed, and one for
recommended/suggested packages that are not being installed.  Right
now it says things like:

    foo recommends bar (>= 1.2.3)

  I would really like to have it say:

    foo recommends bar (>= 1.2.3) to frobnicate the whazzit.

  My thought on this topic has been to do something like:

Recommends-Reason: bar (>= 1.2.3); to frobnicate the whazzit.

  These fields would be purely decorative, so they could be ignored by
the core algorithms (no need to rewrite dpkg's Depends parsing).  They
also don't clutter up the Depends line, which is IMO likely to be
important if you're just trying to read through the dependencies.

  My general feeling is that these would be unlikely to have enough
uptake to justify implementing them...but if a patch were to drop from
heaven (or I suddenly found that I had a week of free time, hah) I
would be happy to give it a shot.


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