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Re: Package with optional priority depending on extra packages

Charles Plessy <charles-debian-nospam@plessy.org> writes:

> Just a comment on section 2.5 of the Policy:
> For optional, it says:
>  optional packages should not conflict with each other.
> However, for extra, it says:
>  This contains all packages that conflict with others
>  with required, important, standard or optional.
> This seems to contradict the fact that a "should" is used earlier when
> considering conflicting optional pacakges. (Or maybe it is just a
> cultural mistundertanding: in the French law, a statement at the present
> tense is by default a "must".)

I agree that it's ambiguous whether it's a should or a must.  (I think
that accurately reflects the project's attitude towards it as well,
although not in the most useful fashion!)

> Wouldn't it be more simple to just decide that optional packages do not
> conflict between each other ?

That seems like a subset of what Policy says.  I'm not sure what the
practical difference would be.

> There is at least one purpose: that one can install all optional
> packages at the same time without having to solve conflicts.

I think the point at which this is useful for anything other than QA is
probably long-past.  I have a hard time imagining any user who would want
to do that.

I'm not enamoured of the extra == conflicts idea.  It creates weird
artifacts, such as having Postfix be priority: extra because it conflicts
with exim4 despite the fact that we would probably be very concerned if
Postfix had an RC bug, far more so than would be implied by "extra."  This
can also create practical problems, such as reducing the priority of
building fairly critical packages like Postfix on the buildds.

> There is also at least one drawback: if the conflicting packages serve a
> similar purpose, it makes Debian express a preference by having one
> optional and the others extra, which means potentially difficult
> decisions.


> Maybe the people using the 'extra' priority for some purpose could
> briefly describe what they do?

I use "extra" for my packages following the second part of the definition:
"are only likely to be useful if you already know what they are or have
specialized requirements."  In particular, -dev packages and -dbg packages
are generally always priority: extra (except for really important dev
packages like libc6-dev), and some of my packages for more unusual tasks
are priority: extra since generally the people who need them know how to
look for them and they're not going to be of interest to most of the
people browsing the package list.

I get the impression that I use priority: extra more than most developers,

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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