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Making "may not be removed" and "needed

* Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> [110404 19:22]:
> If login worked consistently in the face of the configured shell going
> missing (automatically falling back to /bin/sh for root), then I think it
> would be worthwhile to do the work necessary to remove bash from the
> essential set.  But until then, the primary purpose of Essential, to me, is
> the "minimal set guaranteed to be usable" aspect, not the "you don't have to
> depend on it" aspect.

I think it might be nice if those two aspects could be isolated somehow.
This could also reduce the size of some build chroots and the set of packages
any boot-strap code has to handle specially[1]. With all the essential
stuff only needed for a full system to boot, those are larger than they
needed to be.

I think


and their dependencies (passwd, initscripts, the whole pam stack)
are mostly not needed in that set[2].
(Util-linux might have one or two programs one might want to move
to another package then, and something for update-rc.d needs to be

How about giving the old meaning of Essential to packages being
Essential: yes and Priority: required and allowing a new state
Essential: yes and Priority: important that means a package manager
has to make sure its functionality is kept[3] but everything not
having a Dependency is still supposed to work (do build chroots,
embedded stuff or other things can do without them).

	Bernhard R. Link

[1] bootstrap code essentiall needs to unpack those and all their
dependencies manually and then call dpkg to do that again...

[2] At least I often build some of my packages in chroots not having
any of those.

[3] Though in my eyes "not removed" might suffice. Being able to login
always but having no guarantee a sshd is still running and working or
that it is still bootable gives not much in my eyes.

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