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priorities (was: Re: RFC: cups as "default" printing system for lenny?)

Kind of reviving an old thread, but anyway:

On Sun, Nov 11, 2007 at 07:12:35PM +0100, Marc 'HE' Brockschmidt wrote:
> I believe it to be one of the more important bits of a standard Unix
> *desktop* installation - but this just reminds me of the fact that I'm
> quite uncomfortable with keeping a system like package priorities around
> for much longer. Diverging use-cases (like in this case) show that one
> definition of "standard" isn't really helpful anymore.

Haven't we more or less already moved away from priorities as meaning
anything particularly important? We have:

	required/essential -- stuff that can't be removed: libc, dpkg, etc
	important -- the rest of base, stuff necessary to bootstrap and
		recover a usable and useful system
	standard -- a minimal collection of useful stuff we'd like to see on
		every Debian system
	optional -- all the good software in the world
	extra -- obscure stuff

All the really important questions are which bits of "optional" (and
occassionally extra) are useful for a given user.

I'm not sure if there's any point to continuing to try to make sure that
nothing >= optional conflicts with anything else >= optional.

> I think we may want to start thinking about getting rid of the whole
> thing and switching to something which allows us to express more complex
> importance measurements for packages. In fact, d-i and its task system
> have been a step in that direction, so we maybe should evaluate if we
> want to formalize it a bit more and get it into policy to replace
> priorities.

required and important are both needed by debootstrap, so can't be gotten
rid of (though they could be changed to use some other field/name).

Priority: standard currently contains:

	at, bc, dc, lsof, file, less, sharutils, strace
	dnsutils, ftp, host, ssh, mtr-tiny, finger, w3m, whois
	doc-debian, doc-linux-text
	exim, mailx, mutt, procmail, mime-support, mpack
	gettext-base, locales
	perl (not just perl-base), python
	selinux policy

That seems a pretty reasonable set of functionality to put on all Debian
boxes (unless the admin specifically says otherwise), afaics.

It might be sensible to replace ftp with lftp these days, though. And
I'm not sure what happened to the exim v postfix defaults discussion a
little while ago, and maybe procmail/mpack aren't all that necessary.

It also includes, but afaics, probably doesn't need to (anymore):

	ispell, dictionaries-common, iamerican, ibritish, wamerican
	m4, texinfo (???)
	mtools (access unmounted msdos filesystems, not NTFS though)
	nfs-common, portmap (enables mounting NFS shares)
	pidentd (is IDENT still used on today's internet, with all its NAT?)
	openbsd-inetd  (needed by pidentd)
	tcsh (people who remember what it is know how to install it)
	time (???)
	telnet (netcat is important, as is wget)

But as far as "default installs" for anything of any real meaning,
I just don't see Priorities as being relevant anymore.


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