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

* Bruce Sass <bmsass@shaw.ca> [2011-09-21 23:18:54 CEST]:
> On September 20, 2011 02:24:33 PM Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> > On Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 01:12:37PM +0200, Gerfried Fuchs wrote:
> > >  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?
> > 
> > I think the first form above ("foo-contrib | foo") is not acceptable. My
> > argument is that we should make choice of non-free software an explicit
> > action of Debian users, rather than an implicit/automated one.
> Would once be fine, or should contrib/non-free users need to make an explicit 
> choice every first time a package outside of Main is an installation 
> candidate?

 For me, once wouldn't be fine. Just because I might be interested in a
non-free package for a specific task/documentation/whatever, I am *not*
interested in general to pull in non-free stuff into my system.  Reason
is simple:  Every single non-free package has different reasons for
being there, and while I might be fine with having non-modifyable stuff
on my system for something specific, when being in a work environment
non-commercial restriction is a pain, or patent-related restrictions
should also be explicitly chosen.

 So *every* time a package outside of main is an installation candidate
the decision should be made, not once, very much indeed.

> Debian already favours Main packages by default

 Not if the alternative dependency chain has a non-free package first. I
know what you mean with that non-free isn't enabled by default, but the
way the dependency chain is written still favours non-free packages by
default, when available -- which is the thing you like to emphasis on,
but the favour is still the other way round.

> Personally: I'd like to see any philosophical overloading of dependency 
> statements disappear. The statement "A|B|C" should mean that A is the best 
> choice from a technical perspective (stability, functionality, etc.)

 Not only technical perspective, the DFSG are also very relevant for
such a decision making.

 Please don't forget that the reason for one non-free package might be
acceptable for a fair amount of users (like debate about GFDL showed)
while the reason for another non-free package crosses the line for most.
A general statement of "I installed that one non-free package so I'm
fine with other non-free packages on my system" is flawed in very many
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