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Re: Reasons for recommends and suggests

On Thu, May 17, 2007 at 04:56:23PM -0700, Don Armstrong <don@debian.org> was heard to say:
> On Fri, 18 May 2007, Brian May wrote:
> > >>>>> "Neil" == Neil Williams <linux@codehelp.co.uk> writes:
> > 
> >     Neil> The only bug suitable for this scenario is a wishlist bug
> >     Neil> for a more verbose manpage.
> > 
> > I want to know if I should install the package recommendations or not
> > when I install the package.
> The recommends should be a set such that you'd want to install them,
> unless you know specifically why you don't. [In the majority of cases
> that I've personally run into, this means "unusual" setups like a
> separate database server, stripped installs, etc.]

  That's true for recommendations, but suggestions are fully optional,
and providing the user with the information necessary to make an informed
decision would be IMO a very good thing.  Recommends come along "for free"
then. :-)

> Moreover, the information necessary to explain what packages that are
> Recommends: or Suggests: actually do and the additional features they
> require is not something that can be easily jammed into the
> Description without making the description uselessly long.

  That's true.  But I would very much be in favor of adding new, optional
fields that describe the dependencies of the package.  These can be
integrated into the package management interface at appropriate points,
without cluttering the description itself.

  Stuffing information into README.Debian doesn't help, since (a) you
can't read it until you've installed the package, and (b) NLP parsing
isn't good enough to find the text you need and extract it automatically :-).


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