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Bug#508644: mass bugfiling (against 8 packages) and/or new package default-mta

Steve Langasek wrote:
On Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 06:32:45PM +0100, Giacomo Catenazzi wrote:
Hmmm. I partially agree, but then we have an unnecessary exception:
such virtual packages must have only one "provider", or else there
will be problems (IIRC) on dpkg, apt or ddbuild, if such dependency
is declared as first dependency [1].

>From the definition of the virtual package in question, it should have only
one provider at a time.

And this is an exception,

No, it isn't.

why not?

Section 3.6:
: Sometimes, there are several packages which offer more-or-less the same functionality.
: In this case, it's useful to define a virtual package whose name describes that common
: functionality.

This is the rationale and the explanation of virtual package, which explicitly tell us
about "several package".

And MTA is not a special case: we have the same problem with syslog, possibly also
with inetd. In past we had IIRC mass bug reports on transition with modutils.

I would prefer to create a real empty package:
default-mta (maybe in a source package debian-defaults), which depends
on exim.

This unavoidably couples Debian's choice of a default MTA for users who
install the new release, to the behavior for users who are upgrading from a
previous release, because users who have such a 'default-mta' package
installed will find their MTA changed on dist-upgrade.

What about an other level of indirection:
package debian-mta: Depends: exim | mta-mail-transfer-agent
I think this case will solve upgrades, and changing easily the mta
(without causing a failed dependency).

I believe that would also work, but it seems unnecessarily complex compared
to the use of a virtual package.

IMO it the contrary: virtual package seems more complex to me.
- the default is set by an independent maintainer (release, policy, ...)
- easier (IMO) for custom distributions

But ok, it you think it is simpler with virtual packages, I'm ok also
with it.


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