[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

idea: allow package combinations as alternatives, e.g. a | b + c

Package: dpkg
Severity: wishlist


I'd like to share an idea with you that arose in my head when I tried to install the gnome meta-package. I allready had gnome-desktop-environment and (many packages of ) openoffice.org installed. The gnome package wanted to pull in gnome-office, but I thought "I allready have an office suite that is well integrated with gnome: OO.o". My first idea was to file a bug against the gnome meta-package to use an alternative dependency and depend on 'gnome-office | openoffice.org'. Then I remembered that openoffice.org alone will not integrate well with GNOME, i.e. use another icon set, file dialog, etc. You will have to install the openoffice.org-gnome package to get the GNOME integration. But then, depending on openoffice.org-gnome will still not solve the problem, since this packages does only provide the libraries required for GNOME integration. It does not depend on the openoffice.org package itself, rightly, so you would still end up without an office suite.

Now my idea is, that only both packages together, i.e. openoffice.org *and* openoffice.org-gnome, will make a good substitute for gnome-office. The Debian package management is currently not able to deal with this situation properly. It would be great if the gnome package could depend on 'gnome-office | openoffice.org + openoffice.org-gnome'. So the dependency will be satisfied if you install etiher gnome-office or both openoffice.org *and* openoffice.org-gnome.

Of course this example is focussed on gnome-office and OO.o, but I believe you will find many more practical examples the longer you think about it.

I'd like to know your opinion. Do you think this concept is worth considering for inclusion in Debian?


PS: As another example, imagine you need to depend on a postscript viewer. There are packages that can view postscript only if the ghostscript package is installed (e.g. xv; not in Debian, I know). So your dependency could read 'ghostview | xv + ghostscript'. This way you will not be forced to install ghostview if you allready have both xv and ghostscript installed.

Yes, I know there's a meta-package for this situation so you might simply depend on 'ghostview | postscript-viewer'. I hope I made my point nevertheless. ;)

Dipl.-Phys. Fabian Greffrath

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Lehrstuhl für Energieanlagen und Energieprozesstechnik (LEAT)
Universitätsstr. 150, IB 3/134
D-44780 Bochum

Telefon: +49 (0)234 / 32-26334
Fax:     +49 (0)234 / 32-14227
E-Mail:  greffrath@leat.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

Reply to: