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Re: alternative dependency ordering - with respect of packages in main

Dear Gerfried,
Gerfried Fuchs schrieb am 20.09.2011 13:12:
>  Policy is clear on packages in main aren't allowed to depend on
> packages outside of main.  Now in a fair amount of cases this has been
> worked around by having the package outside of main as alternative
> dependency and a package in main offer basic functionality for the
> package to still be able to work.
>  I know that the buildd system likes to pull in the first package in
> such an alternative dependency chain.  And now I start to wonder:
>  Is it allowed for a package in main to have a package _outside_ of main
> as first component of an alternative dependency?  The package in
> question is extremely unlikely to ever be used as Build-Depends, so this
> is of a more general question.

I'd say – from a technical viewpoint – it should be ok, because the buildds (for
main) just shouldn't offer the possibility to install something from outside of
main. Though I must admit, that I've no idea, whether this is enforced by the
buildds or not (I would hope so, because, otherwise we might end up with
Policy-broken builds anyway, in case the main B-D isn't satisfiable at build
time, while the non-main is).

>  What also might be used as argument is the social contract, DFSG #4:
> "Our priorities are our users and free software" -- it can be argued
> that we don't put the priority on free software in such a case.
>  tl;dr - what do you think, is a "Depends: foo-contrib | foo" acceptable
> for packages in main or should it be "Depends: foo | foo-contrib"
> instead?

Ideologically I'd vote for the latter, just to make sure people can rely on
getting the free/open/libre installation on default, even if they might need
contrib or non-free in some places. If you want/need (maybe add a README.Debian,
explaining the differences) the contrib/non-free functionality, you can manually
install that.

Kind regards,
Kai Wasserbäch


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