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Re: Bug#560786: gdb: Please make the python dependency optional

Hi Daniel,

On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 09:34:53PM -0500, Daniel Jacobowitz wrote:
> tags 560786 + wontfix
> thanks
> On Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 08:22:12PM +1030, Ron wrote:
> > Not all machines that it's useful to be able to run gdb on
> > also need or want python installed.  Can we please make this
> > extra dependency optional?
> No, we can't.  You build GDB either with or without linking to Python.
> I don't see a reason to split the GDB package into two and double its
> archive size for this.

I do appreciate, and share, your concern for not bloating the archive
needlessly, but my concern is balancing that against the needs of small
Debian systems, where the extra deps this drags in are of themselves a
quite substantial and needless extra bloat.  They are considerably larger
than gdb is itself, and needing to put extra flash on a board, just to
install python, which the board itself will never use, hits a much harder
limit than an extra 4MB package in the archive would.

Ideally this should really be some sort of runtime dependency, otherwise
what happens when people also add perl, lua, ruby, etc. etc. bindings to
do the same thing as this python dep does?  If that can't be done, then
we do have precedent with things like vim, for providing both a -minimal
and a -with-the-lot package for people.

Anyhow, I'm serious about wanting/needing developer support for these
sort of systems, so the main question is how Debian is going to provide
that best.  Other options I see right now are:

 - libgdb-dev appears to be unused, and itself recommends that it never
   should be.  That's the size of 2 gdb .debs itself, so if you really
   want to remain "archive neutral", we could trade it for a gdb-minimal
   package, and wind up using less archive space in the deal.

 - I ITP a separate package, that just removes the --with-python option
   passed to configure.  That's my least favourite option in terms of
   bloat, but if the issue is that you don't _want_ to maintain this
   extra package yourself, then I can appreciate that, and am prepared
   to do that work myself rather than having it foisted upon you by the
   TC or similar.  I'd really rather just send you a patch that does
   this from the same source package though, but whether it is worth
   my time to do that, depends on the detailed rationale for your making
   this wontfix.  Simply removing the python dep is a much more trivial
   change if I have to go that way to resolve this.

I've cc'd -devel, as others may have even better or simpler solutions,
but I'd appreciate your guidance on the best way to move forward with
solving this from here.


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