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

Picking some arbitrary messages in this thread to respond to.

On Sun, Dec 20, 2009 at 03:30:20AM +1030, Ron wrote:
> 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.

There is not just one GDB package in the archive.  Many platforms have
two, and the build logic is tricky enough to produce all the variants
already... I really don't see the justification for another binary.

You've already said you don't have the space for GDB+Python.  So file
a wishlist bug to split gdbserver out to its own package, and I'll do
that for you happily.  Then you don't need to put the detached debug
info files on your target either.  If you are putting them on your
target, well, that explains why you can't fit GDB!

> 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?

It's not going to happen.  We (the GDB developers) spent a long time
picking one language under the firm plan that we wanted exactly one.
We don't want to fragment available GDB scripts by language; that
defeats the point of making it scriptable.

>  - 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.

It exists for the benefit of the Free Pascal IDE.  Also, it takes
almost no additional build daemon time.

> 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.

I just don't see why a solution to this is necessary in the archive.
Nothing you've said has changed that.  Either we install gdbserver, or
else you can just throw a GDB binary around from system to system.
I don't think the range of systems which don't need and can't fit
Python, but can fit a GDB executable (and its substantial RAM
requirements, and the huge debuginfo files it needs to be useful)
is very large.

Remote debugging is easy, and this is exactly what it's for.

On Sun, Dec 20, 2009 at 11:45:00AM +0100, Eduard Bloch wrote:
> And people who don't care shouldn't be forced against their will.

I am not holding a gun to your head and making you install GDB.
I don't think this is an appropriate description.  Debian isn't
in the business of providing every possible combination of configure
options; there are some other distros with that philosophy.

Didn't there used to be a statement in policy or the developer's
reference that optional dependencies should generally be enabled,
which had some special words about X11?  I can't find it any more.

> Why don't we provide a gdb-tiny package, in the same fashion as
> vim-tiny? Or is the python support that much hardcoded into gdb source
> now that it can never separated?

It can be separated.

Daniel Jacobowitz

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