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Re: priorities

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:
> 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?

Yes, but we still enforce the formal requirements.

> 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

I have to admit that I don't see why we can't merge those two. At the
moment, these packages are in required without being marked as
debconf debconf-i18n dselect e2fslibs gcc-4.2-base initscripts libacl1
libattr1 libblkid1 libc6 libcap1 libcomerr2 libdb4.3 libdevmapper1.02.1
libgcc1 liblocale-gettext-perl libncurses5 libpam-modules libpam-runtime
libpam0g libselinux1 libsepol1 libslang2 libss2 libstdc++6
libtext-charwidth-perl libtext-iconv-perl libtext-wrapi18n-perl libuuid1
lsb-base makedev mawk passwd procps sysv-rc tzdata zlib1g

I don't see what makes those required-but-not-important or why the
packages in important aren't required.

> 	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 don't see the point of doing that anymore. On i386, sid has 3123
packages in extra and 18178 in optional. The policy says "This is all
the software that you might reasonably want to install if you didn't
know what it was and don't have specialized requirements. This is a much
larger system and includes the X Window System, a full TeX distribution,
and many applications." about optional. Over 18000 binary packages don't
sound like that.

> 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
> 	pciutils
> 	perl (not just perl-base), python
> 	reportbug
> 	selinux policy
> That seems a pretty reasonable set of functionality to put on all Debian
> boxes (unless the admin specifically says otherwise), afaics.

Well, moving away from exim to nullmailer or something like that has
been discussed a few times. procmail is pretty weird in there, as only
few people still use procmail. Just like w3m or mutt - those may look
reasonable for a Unix admin, but a standard user will never touch them.

BOFH #339:
manager in the cable duct

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