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Re: Too many Recommends (in particular on mail-transport-agent)

Jeremy Bicha writes ("Re: Too many Recommends (in particular on mail-transport-agent)"):
> On Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 8:43 AM, Ian Jackson
> <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
> > Before doing that, it would be wise to try to find the answer to the
> > key question which the TC will ask.  Suppose A recommends B.  In what
> > way, or in what circumstances, will A fail due to lack of B ?
> >
> > In #849619 I don't see the answer to that question.
> On the other hand, to someone who doesn't know much about those
> packages, I don't see anything in that bug to explain why it's a
> problem for those other packages to be installed.

This thread is about the problem of Recommends bloat.  This bloat
wastes download time and disk space; and it unnecessarily exposes
users to additional risks (of brokenness, and sometimes of security
problems etc.).

It is not usually appropriate to respond to a question "why is this
Recommends" with "why is it a problem for this package to be

> By the way, if a package "fails", that sounds like a Depends
> relationship is needed not a Recommends.

No.  Even if A usually fails without B, Recommends is more appropriate
than Depends if there are plausible ways to use A without B.

It does seem that some maintainers are unclear on these principles, or
their application; despite what seems to me to be very clear wording
in policy.  So I think we need some examples.  To work well they
should have a high profile and be authoritative, so that means taking
a couple of contested cases to the TC.  Maybe #849619 would make a
good test case.


Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk>   These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.

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