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Re: Pre-Depends: dpkg (>= for dpkg-maintscript-helper okay?

Hi there,

On Sat, Mar 05, 2011 at 04:05:07AM -0500, Anders Kaseorg wrote:
> According to dpkg-maintscript-helper(1), “using it unconditionally 
> requires a pre-dependency to ensure that the required version of dpkg has 
> been unpacked before.  The required version depends on the command used, 
> for rm_conffile and mv_conffile it is
>     Pre-Depends: dpkg (>=”

> However, according to Debian Policy §3.5, “You should not specify a 
> Pre-Depends entry for a package before this has been discussed on the 
> debian-devel mailing list and a consensus about doing that has been 
> reached.”

> I see 4 packages currently in squeeze that declare ‘Pre-Depends: dpkg (>= 
>’ (cron e16-data ntp ntpdate) and 9 in sid (apticron ccal cron 
> lilo midori mozplugger ntp ntpdate usb-modeswitch), but I can’t find any 
> discussion about this on debian-devel.

> So, is it the consensus of debian-devel that adding a versioned 
> Pre-Depends on dpkg as documented in dpkg-maintscript-helper(1) is okay?

> The present context is that I’d like this Pre-Depends also added to git, 
> which in the next upload will be using dpkg-maintscript-helper 
> rm_conffile, but the maintainers are reluctant unless Debian Policy is 
> strictly followed.

Thanks for asking!  Unfortunately too many maintainers overlook this bit of
Policy when adding Pre-Depends; pre-depends are tricksy things that can have
an impact on the whole system, especially where upgrades are concerned, and
it's important to get a lot of eyeballs on them.

My personal take here is:

For packages in squeeze, it's appropriate.

For packages in wheezy/sid, it's redundant because the versioned dependency
is already satisfied by the version of dpkg in squeeze, i.e., it's met even
before upgrading to wheezy or sid.  So in this case the pre-dependency
should *not* be set, as it only serves to complicate the upgrade path.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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