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Re: Proposal of two new control fields: Build-Recommends and Build-Suggests [long reading]

Le Mon, Feb 09, 2009 at 09:30:48AM +0100, Fabian Greffrath a écrit :
> Dear -devel,
> I'd like to suggest the introduction of two new control fields to the
> source stanza of debian/control, namely Build-Recommends and
> Build-Suggests.

Dear Fabian,

this is a very intersting proposal that would address perfectly the issues I
had with running regression tests with Perl modules. Let's imagine possible
consequences (in the case of Perl modules) of unavailability of a package in
one of the three Build- fields:

 - Binary packages would be impossible to prepare if Build-Depends are not
   completely satisfied.

 - Regression tests would miss some information if Build-Recommends are
   missing, but building would not fail and the binary package would be
   identical, i.e., the only diffrerence would be the logs. Advantage: a package
   does not become instantaneously unbuildable if one of its Build-Recommends is
   unavailable for whatever reason.

 - Regression tests would get additional information if Build-Suggests are
   present. Typically, Build-Suggests could be used with contrib or non-free
   packages. Here is a real life example: the bioperl-run package provides
   wrappers for many programs and regression tests for all the wrappers; most
   programs are packaged, and would go to to Build-Recommends, but some (clustalw,
   phylip) are non-free, and would go in Build-Suggests. Bioperl-run's regression
   tests do not fail if the wrapped programs are not found.

This said, there are insightful comments in this thread that underline what
should not be done with Build-Recommends in the context of packages that need
compilation, so the need for the two new fields, althoug appalling, is probably
not pressing. I guess that if you manage to convince the dpkg and sbuild
maintainers to implement them, you will have more chances to get the fields
accepted ;)

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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