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Packages to install be default for Stretch


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I would like to re-evaluate what we change by default for Stretch, that
is the list of packages with priorities required, important and
standard.  In general my plan involves installing less, taking into
consideration that requirements and expectations what should be
available in containers, chroots, on servers and desktop systems has
changed (at least IMHO).

Some ideas which might need further though:

 * I would really like to not list libraries at a priority greater than
   optional. This tends to accumulate cruft, cf. #758234

   Examples from today's unstable: gcc-4.7-base, gcc-4.8-base,
   gcc-4.9-base and gcc-5-base are at Priority: required.
   libboost-iostreams1.5{4,5}.0 are at Priority: important
   and so on.

   As far as I remember, debootstrap already ignores priorities for
   library packages (Section: libs).

 * It would be nice to have "init" demoted from required to
   important: it is not needed in environments like (buildd) chroots.
   This needs moving the essential bit to sysv-rc (which provides
   invoke-rc.d and update-rc.d) and possibly other changes.

 * I'm wondering if "tasksel(-data)" need to be "important"? I admit not
   having used it outside of d-i. Is the installed version used as part
   of the install process? Or could its priority be lowered to
   "standard" or "optional"?

 * Same for question for "dmidecode": could the priority be lowered to

Some priority changes which I believe could be implemented:

 * Packages currently at "important":
    - cron:
      Not needed in chroot/container environments.
      -> demote to "standard"
    - ifupdown, isc-dhcp-client, isc-dhcp-common:
      Not needed in chroot/container environments. Might no longer be
      needed on desktop systems (IIRC NetworkManager has a built-in DHCP
      client in the last release, though not yet used by default).
      -> demote to "standard"
    - groff-base, man-db, manpages:
      Not needed in chroot/container environments or many server
      -> demote to "standard"
    - less:
      Not needed in chroot/container environments.
      -> demote to "standard"
    - logrotate, rsyslog:
      -> tempted to demote to "standard", but maybe only in buster
    - nfacct:
      No idea why this is at Priority: important.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - netcat-traditional:
      No IPv6 support...
      -> demote to "standard", possibly to "optional" in buster
    - traceroute, wget:
      Useful for debugging, but not needed in chroot/container
      -> demote to "standard"

 * Packages currently at "standard":
    - aptitude, aptitude-common:
      There's already apt.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - at:
      Rarely used (IMO).
      -> demote to "optional"
    - bc, dc:
      Rarely used (IMHO).
      -> demote to "optional"
    - dnsutils:
      bind9-host provides a (limited) DNS query interface. No need to
      install both bind9-host and dnsutils by default.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - bsd-mailx, exim4*, procmail, mutt:
      Often not useful on desktop systems, has popular alternatives,
      probably not needed in chroot/container environments either.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - ftp:
      Brr, ftp.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - info, texinfo, install-info:
      I admit having used info only in desperation. Most documentation
      comes in man page format.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - host:
      Transitional package.
      -> demote to "extra" (+ Section: oldlibs)
    - m4:
      Rarely used (AFAIK). Well, at least outside of auto* and sendmail.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - mlocate:
      Rarely used (AFAIK).
      -> demote to "optional"
    - nfs-common, rpcbind:
      NFS is not so common to include in every install. One less service
      listening to the network.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - patch:
      Does anyone use this w/o having build-essential installed?
      -> demote to "optional"
    - time:
      'time' is a builtin in at least bash and zsh.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - w3m:
      I think text-mode browsers are not worth including in the default
      install. It is *very* rare to not have another computer to use.
      Plus in the worst case the package is still just an apt-get away.
      -> demote to "optional"
    - whois:
      Too special to include in standard install.
      -> demote to "optional"

Any comments and/or suggestion for other changes?


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