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Re: Installation of Recommends by default on October 1st



On Fri, 3 Aug 2007 00:30:44 +0200
Michael Vogt <mvogt@acm.org> wrote:
> 
> The current recommends situaton is bad, but as I see it we have two 
> options:
> a) change policy and say recommends should really be suggests
> b) fix apt and go through the transition pain

c) mass bug filing without changing apt. (It's the right list for that,
at least.)

The hardest part of this is that the decision about just what goes into
Recommends isn't something that can be easily tested by automated
scripts, lintian etc. Forcing the situation by changing apt to expose
the idiocies of the current Recommends list does seem to be a
heavy-handed way to do it.

However, I seem to be in danger of being labelled a "stick-in-the-mud"
or "resistant" to change which is completely untrue. I just don't like
this particular change. Lacking the time to do this some other way
myself due to contributions elsewhere in Debian/Emdebian, it will just
be one of those things where I disagree with a default.

As far as Emdebian is concerned, yes, it is just a change in our
cross-built apt package to make Emdebian into one of those
unusual installations where Recommends does not apply. Hopefully, in
time, I'll work out a collection of these patches where Emdebian needs
to change a low-level Debian default and create a way to still carry
these upstream within wrappers that are only enabled by an emdebian /
cross build, possibly along the lines of how gcc works with DEB_CROSS.
This is just one more for that list.

> Letting the current situation drag on forever is not really a solution
> IMHO. And we have time to fix the reommends chain and to fix the tools
> to better distinguish between real depends and recommends (that is not
> ideal currently).
> 
> In summary I think that depends will not become another form of
> depends and people will forget about them. Just the oposite, it will
> be a benefit especially for the powerusers. Regular users will just
> ignore them.

Has that issue with gksu been filed as a bug report?

I'm as guilty as anyone else about griping without always filing a
bug report but I would like to see more bug reports that move Depends
-> Recommends as well as making Recommends itself logically consistent.

> I understand that a lot of people are  not happy about a change like
> this, but I think recommends-cleanup and improving our tools should
> really make debian better and there is still time to work on the
> remaining issues :) 

I agree with fixing Recommends, I just wish it didn't have to involve
forcing people to get around to fixing it by changing apt.

> I guess my initial mail should have included much
> more details and examples to explain the rational better.

It was the fait-accompli manner of the announcement that worried me
most and I was on VAC during the previous discussions on this list. If
it had maybe started with:

After previous discussion on debian-devel <link>, we the APT team *want
to* bring the current behaviour in experimental into unstable.... here
are some of the reasons and possible problems ... we expect to make this
change on <date> 
 rather than (how it came across)
We the APT team will force this change and this is simply notification
that you've got 56 days to comply and by the way, here's how to hack
all your systems to retain the current method.

It would have reduced the feelings of panic and alarm at this end!
:-)

If the announcement also mentioned some existing problems with
Recommends (with bug reports), it would have been *so* much easier.

-- 

Neil Williams
=============
http://www.data-freedom.org/
http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/
http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/

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