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Re: Prompt to install missing software?

[ re-sent to debian-devel, it's a better target for this discussion ]

On Sun, May 27, 2007 at 02:17:15PM +1000, John Pye wrote:
> Is there any way under Debian (and hopefully also Ubuntu) that I can
> trigger gtk-debi or something like that when the user requests to use
> the part of my program that depends on stuff they haven't installed yet?

I don't think anything like that does exist, but I thank you for
pointing it out: I think having something like that in Debian would be

Sure suggests/recommends are already out there for similar reasons, but
they are for package managers and for human admins that manually install
packages. Users might well not be aware of them or even of what they
mean. So I agree that an agreed upon mechanism able to spawn a package
manager instance to install the missing packages would be useful.

Some points for open discussion on this:
- we need a fallback in case the user does not have the needed
  privileges to install the packages. IMO something like "sorry, it
  seems you can't install the missing packages, please contact your
  local administration and ask him to install X, Y, and Z packages
- we need to provide one instance for each environment we want it to
  work: the gksu solution mentioned in this thread might be ok for Gnome
  users but probably not for KDE/Xfce ones. Suggestions on what should
  be the corresponding "implementations" there?
- we need a way to choose for the user among different package managers
  top-levels: apt-get/aptitude/synaptic/... Probably an
  update-alternatives like mechanism can be used?

> What would be the best way of doing that from python, if such a thing
> exists?

So, no answer for this, but I hope in the future to be able to answer:
"just run debian-install-missing X Y Z".


Stefano Zacchiroli -*- PhD in Computer Science ............... now what?
zack@{cs.unibo.it,debian.org,bononia.it} -%- http://www.bononia.it/zack/
(15:56:48)  Zack: e la demo dema ?    /\    All one has to do is hit the
(15:57:15)  Bac: no, la demo scema    \/    right keys at the right time

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