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Bug#687001: ITP: optional-dev -- fake (empty) dev package

Package: wnpp
Severity: wishlist
X-Debbugs-CC: debian-devel@lists.debian.org

   Package name: optional-dev
        Version: 20120908
         Author: Dmitry Smirnov <onlyjob@member.fsf.org>
        License: GPL-3+
    Description: fake (empty) dev package
                 Purpose of this package is to provide an alternative for optional build
                 dependencies which may not be available on some architectures.


There are situations when some of the libraries listed in Build-Depends
are optional i.e. build system is smart enough to avoid failure when
such library is missing.

Often some development libraries are not available on all architectures
in which case maintainer should know beforehand which architectures may
satisfy this dependency and maintain an up-to-date list of architectures
for such packages, like in the following example:

    Build-Depends: libchamplain-gtk-0.12-dev [!m68k !sh4],
                   libopenipmi-dev [!hurd-any !arm]

From time to time such lists should be re-checked in case library become
available on another architecture or when new architecture is added or
if package is removed from some architectures.

Another challenge is backporting package if some of its optional build
dependencies may not be available on target distribution. For instance
"libchamplain-gtk-0.12-dev" is not available for Squeeze so backporting
would require removing it from Build-Depends.

Finally maintainer might want to mark optional dependencies as such (can
be done with comments).

All the above problems may be addressed by using this package as
alternative to optional build dependency like in the example below:

    Build-Depends: libchamplain-gtk-0.12-dev | optional-dev,
                   libopenipmi-dev | optional-dev

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