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Re: Recommends for metapackages

On Jo, 12 iul 12, 17:44:52, Gergely Nagy wrote:
> > Then some time later during upgrade it'll upgrade all packages
> > but will not install N-M; at the same time it'll install
> > new package that was added to Recommends in that new version.
> As far as I remember, it will not install new recommends.
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> > It this correct description of apt behaviour, or have
> > I misunderstood something?
> More or less, except that to the best of my knowledge, it will not
> install new recommends on upgrade. And that makes sense, and is good so,
> otherwise it will attempt to install all recommends I explicitly did not
> install on each upgrade - no thanks. (Or we need to introduce yet
> another complexity into the system, to mark packages as
> not-to-install-ever. I doubt we have that now... but perhaps hold on an
> uninstalled package works that way? I don't know.)

Pin it to -1 ;)

> But, the problem I'm talking about is not related to this. The problem I
> see is when I have a gnome meta-package, that recommends, say,
> totem. Now, lets suppose I'm also running unstable, for one reason or
> the other, and a transition comes along, and something has a breaks on
> stuff totem depends on, and the package manager decides to remove totem.
> Weeks later, when I want to watch a movie, at the end of the world, with
> no network connectivify, I realize that something pulled my movie player
> out of me.
> I would be very, very sad.
> Of course, silly me, why do I run unstable? And why don't I pay
> attention to what my upgrades do? Well, I run unstable because I work
> with it, and it has up-to-date stuff I have to work with. And running
> unstable is far easier than running testing and cherry-picking (did I
> mention I hate manual bookkeeping?). I do unattended upgrades, because I
> trust the system to keep everything I installed, installed. I installed
> the gnome meta-package because I want the full thing, bells, whistles
> and crap included.

Sorry, but IMNSHO running sid with unattended upgrades just asks for 
trouble. But then again IANADD, if Debian wants to optimize for this use 
case who am I to disagree? :)
> I could, of course, mark totem manually installed, but then I'm back to
> manual bookkeeping, could've installed the whole stuff by cherry-picking
> each component, and that makes the meta-package useless for me, and
> destroys the argument that recommends would result in less bookkeeping.
> Thus, here's an example where Recommends *will break* an existing
> system.
> Oh, and since apt won't install new recommends on upgrade, to the best
> of my knowledge, I won't get totem back once the
> transition/breakage/whatever is fixed, either. While if it would be a
> dependency, the upgrade would abort, because it'd try to remove a
> package marked as manually installed.
> But similarly, if I ran stable, and one of the meta packages I installed
> had a recommends on a piece of software, and I try to install something
> that conflicts with it (either directly, or indirectly, via another meta
> package, for example), then this piece of software gets removed. I may
> or may not notice that - I might not even know wtf totem is, a novice
> user who first sees Linux certainly won't - so it gets removed.

Well, if the purpose of the Depends are to protect a novice from 
removing packages by mistake that surely a package manager offering to 
remove 100+ packages should definitely sound an alarm.

But with apt-get you will get only two packages uninstalled (the package 
with the conflict and the metapackage depending on it). The big surprise 
will come only later, when apt-get suddenly suggest you should run 
'autoremove' to get rid of some 100+ packages that look like not needed 
> It won't come back, unless I install it.
> As far as I'm concerned, this defeats the purpose of the meta-package,
> because it breaks my expectation that whatever else it pulls in, will
> stay there as long as the meta is installed.

Did you consider creating your own meta-package? It shouldn't take you 
more than 5 minutes to write an apt hook to get the control file and 

Kind regards,
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