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Re: e2fsprogs not esential anymore?

On Sun, 14 Mar 2010 11:25:08 -0700
Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> wrote:

> On Sun, Mar 14, 2010 at 06:04:16PM +0000, Neil Williams wrote:
> > Personally, I'm not that fussed about Essential anymore - Emdebian just
> > removes the tag from any and every package automatically. No ill effects
> > have been identified so far. Sometimes I wonder if Debian actually
> > needs Essential any more for anything particularly useful or
> > commonplace.
> Then you clearly don't understand the purpose of Essential.

I understand the theory, I've just never seen the practical purpose of
the current mechanism. Yes, it shortens Depends: lines but if the
dependencies are not listed and the Essential tag is omitted, what
actually goes wrong? It's one thing having a list of packages that can
be omitted from the dependency list but having a tag in the control
file (and Packages file) seems utterly pointless. With a little care,
Essential is irrelevant.

By all means keep a list of Essential packages but that list does not
have to be derived from the package data or in the Packages file or
need a package upload to modify; it could be somewhere in /etc/, making
it easier to modify / ditch.

The lack of the control field appears to have no ill effects, whether a
list exists or not.

Having the principle of Essential does mean that Emdebian can replace
dpkg-divert and update-alternatives with shell scripts without having
to change reverse dependencies but, in practice, it isn't that much of
a gain.

Anyway, the point of my comment was to avoid getting into that
discussion again. I'm happy to ditch Essential when it gets in the way.


Neil Williams

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