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Re: Recommends for metapackages

On Jo, 12 iul 12, 15:46:05, Gergely Nagy wrote:
> X) Downgrade stuff to recommends
> ================================
> I do not consider this a solution, for reasons explained elsewhere,
> where my main concern is that it breaks the assumption that installing a
> platform (in this case, gnome) will install the whole thing, and it will
> be available for my use at any time.

Well, it will, in all but unusual installations :)
> With recommends, there's a fair chance that a distinctly related package
> forces part of the platform off, and the package manager will happily
> remove them. Once the breakage is fixed, it will not reinstall them.

Could you please elaborate on that? The only thing I can think of that 
would force some packages to not be installed (or removed) is a 
Conflicts (or unsatisfiable Depends, but this shouldn't happen in 

With Recommends you get a simple prompt that a specific package will be 
uninstalled and comparing the descriptions will probably give a hint to 
any user that those packages might conflict (assuming they don't look at 
the Conflicts).

With Depends aptitude will suddenly want to remove a whole bunch of 
packages (that may or may not look related) and apt-get will suggest you 
to do this via autoremove. Then you have go hunting with apt-mark, yay!

> This can be worked around by removing the auto-installed flag from those
> parts of the platform that I want to keep at all times, but then what is
> the use of Recommends, when I have to cherry pick anyway? I could just
> skip installing the meta, the net effect is the same (except, that
> without the meta, there are no expectations to break).

Are you talking about testing or sid?
> I still don't see the problem with installing a subset by hand. Advanced
> users can script it, novices will only need to hand pick once. Done. 10
> minutes job.

IMO the main problem is:

# aptitude remove package
Following packages will be removed:
[Big list with 100+ packages]
> Compare that to the hours wasted trying to figure out what forced part
> of the platform off my system and when, during an unattended
> upgrade.. Yes, I do those, because I want to trust the system doing the
> right thing, and keeping stuff I installed intact and complete.

Sorry, I thought we were talking about stable, why would something like 
that happen.
Kind regards,
Offtopic discussions among Debian users and developers:

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