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Re: Reasons for recommends and suggests

On Fri, May 18, 2007 at 02:37:06AM -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:
> On Fri, 18 May 2007, Kevin Mark wrote:
> > As I mentioned, I dont think this information should be in every
> > package and probably would be useful for more desktop-users than
> > developers. I'd only suggest creating the infrastructure (presumably so
> > that it doesn't break anything in dpkg and would only be shown in
> > aptitude and synaptic) and then allow either the maintainer to add it or
> > allow users to contribute to it.
> It would probably be enough then to just have it available in
> README.Debian and modify the p.d.o changelogs script to also extract
> README.Debian when it exists; allowing aptitude/synaptic et al. to
> show README.Debian like changelogs are shown now.
> This would allow explanations of appropriate length about the packages
> which are Recommends: and Suggests: (or anything else that people ask
> about) as well as any additional information that users may want to
> know about before installing.
> Plus, you'd have the advantage of being able to do this now instead of
> trying to jam more information into the control file which doesn't
> strictly need to be there.

does putting the info in the README entail the loss of the kind of
structuring that would make it easy to, for example, programmatically 
display just the relevant text for a specific recommends?

IIRC, the case was made that such information is more useful (albeit
perhaps rarely) than the package description sometimes for much the 
same usage -- deciding whether to install a package -- so why would 
it not merit a place in the same file?  Would there be anything to be
gained from having it in the control file ?

While cramming the info into the kinds of formats that have been 
suggested might tend to influence the text inappropraitely, consider
that short descriptions can be used in places that long ones can't.

would it be practical to have both mechanisms and only use the control
file mechanism when it was appropriate ?

I'm not keen on bloating the control file, just interested in the 


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