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Re: Reasons for recommends and suggests

Don Armstrong writes ("Re: Reasons for recommends and suggests"):
> On Fri, 18 May 2007, Hendrik Sattler wrote:
> > The description should not explain what the other package is but
> > _what_ it does to the selected package.
> In order to explain what the recommended package does to the
> recommeding package, you have to explain what the other package is to
> some extent.

I think the information about Suggests and Recommends should go in the
Description: in unstructured text for now.  I have been doing that for
my packages forever.  You put a separate paragraph in the Description
which explains what facility the Suggested and Recommended packages

NB that often the answer is `obvious' so I wouldn't say that there
should be a policy for this information always to be present.  The
maintainer should decide, after listening to the users (who are after
all the people who know what information they're lacking, whereas the
maintainer typically already knows).

It may turn out to be useful later to have some machine-parseable
structured form for this information, but that still has to be designed.

Putting it into the Recommends and Suggests fields directly doesn't
seem like a good idea.  The format of those fields is too constrained
and it would make providing translations very difficult.

I also disagree with the suggestion that the information should be in
README.Debian.  It needs to be available when deciding whether to
install a package - so it should be in the .deb control file where it
will end up in Packages.


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