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Re: Recommends for metapackages

On Wed, 11 Jul 2012, Gergely Nagy wrote:
> Henrique de Moraes Holschuh <hmh@debian.org> writes:
> > IMO, metapackages should "depend" on the absolutely required stuff (and many
> > times that will be the empty set), "recommend" the rest, and maybe even
> > "suggest" fringe packages.  This achieves maximum usability for more
> > usecases, and malfunctions only in the unsupported case of "no install
> > recommends by default" -- you should skip recommends always in a
> > case-by-case basis.
> That also achives maximum annoyance, because if I want the full
> platform, I'll have to go recommends/suggest hunting. (No, I'm *not*
> going to turn on install-recommends.)

You're not using the recommended behaviour which exists for extremely good
reasons (_and_ it is the default almost every user will use, mandated and
backed by policy for years).  That gives you the extra responsibility of not
missing any "recommended" package that you should have installed.

I am extremely unimpressed.  While I commend you in being one of the guinea
pigs that will be hit first when someone misclassifies a dependency as
"recommends" instead of "depends" and I recognize the importance of that
job, I fell that is hardly a good reason to push against better metapackages
that would make them actually useful for a much larger set of people[1].

I routinely skip installing recommended packages, but I take that decision
in a case-by-case basis.  Unlike you, I am not pushing on the majority an
inferior, sub-optimal behaviour which I'd not be willing to deal with
myself.  I *already* deal with the resulting sub-optimal behaviour of
metapackages abusing "depends".

[1] As in people complaining in debian-user that: "<package manager> wants
to remove my entire desktop environment" when the user tries to install a
package that "conflicts" with something "depended" by a metapackage.

> > OTOH, metapackages from hell (like gnome or kde-full) based on Depends
> > require me to select them, go to the "will install these" screen, deselect
> > the meta package, and go over the list manually installing whatever isn't
> > going to be useless/unwelcome for my specific case.  And I will never notice
> > if the metapackage changes its dependency tree later on.
> You could script all that, and keep your local list up-to-date with
> about ~10 minutes of work.

So could you.  The difference is that you'd be doing it because you're
running with your package manager configured for behaviour opposite to the
recommended one that all regular users and most DDs do.

  "One disk to rule them all, One disk to find them. One disk to bring
  them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
  where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot
  Henrique Holschuh

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