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Re: Priority dependence

Neil Williams <codehelp@debian.org> writes:

> It is very worthwhile having a clear division between Required and
> Important. A typical bootstrap should include Required but there is no
> need for any of the important packages and any which may be useful can
> be added explicitly.

That's probably part of what I'm missing; what's the purpose of required
in addition to essential plus dependencies?

Policy defines required as:

    Packages which are necessary for the proper functioning of the system
    (usually, this means that dpkg functionality depends on these
    packages). Removing a required package may cause your system to become
    totally broken and you may not even be able to use dpkg to put things
    back, so only do so if you know what you are doing. Systems with only
    the required packages are probably unusable, but they do have enough
    functionality to allow the sysadmin to boot and install more software.

This sounds quite a bit like the definition of essential, except that
required adds "allow the sysadmin to boot" and essential has the special
unconfigured requirement.

Hm.  So are there packages that aren't usable until configured but which
should never be removed from the system?  I guess that would be the
difference between required and the essential closure.

> Please don't merge Important or lose the distinction between Required
> and Important - Required is sufficiently bloated already without adding
> Important. Far preferable (from an embedded perspective) to drop
> Important and make everything else into a default Priority (optional).

Well, I was asking a question about the goals of the priority levels in
the abstract, not about what's currently classified there.  If we merged
required and important, obviously there's probably a lot of stuff that's
currently in important that should drop back a level to standard.

>> * Base installation.  The smallest possible installation you can put on a
>>   regular system and have a working and usable text-mode computer on which
>>   you can install other things and which looks like UNIX.  This seems to
>>   be what Priority: important is supposed to give you.

> I disagree, Priority: required is all that is necessary for that
> purpose.

You disagree that's what Priority: important is supposed to give you?

    Important programs, including those which one would expect to find on
    any Unix-like system. If the expectation is that an experienced Unix
    person who found it missing would say "What on earth is going on,
    where is foo?", it must be an important package. Other packages
    without which the system will not run well or be usable must also have
    priority important. This does not include Emacs, the X Window System,
    TeX or any other large applications. The important packages are just a
    bare minimum of commonly-expected and necessary tools.

That sure sounds like what it says.  Or do you think our implementation of
important is buggy?  You're coming across as disagreeing vehemently with
me but being insufficiently clear for me to be able to figure out what
you're actually disagreeing with.  :)

There's an open Policy bug requesting clarification of the difference
between important and standard, and I admit I'm rather fuzzy on that

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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