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Suggested improvements for handling Architecture independent packages

Dear readers:

I would like to suggest two major improvements related to packages which are
"Architecture: all".

The first thing I want to suggest is the handling of dependencies. When building
a package, you can use "Depends: package [arch1 arch2]" which means that it
depends on package only on the architectures arch1 and arch2. But this only
works for architecture dependent packages. Therefore, I would like to not
process this "command" during the build-time, but do it at the installation time.

This is especially useful for recommends, since all recommends have to be
available. Without it, the best way is to only suggest the package.

One could also use package | not+ARCHITECTURE, but this results in half-broken
dependencies. And it's more complicated.

I suggested this first in Bug#436733 [1]

The other suggestion [2] is to add a field called "Install-Architecture" to the
control file, listing architectures for which this package should be available.
Another idea is to use "Architecture: all [i386 amd64 ppc]", which seems to be
better [3].

It would be great to add the needed functionality before the release of Lenny,
so we can start using it in Lenny+1.

The second suggested improvement could be used before the release of lenny,
because it would only require changes to dak (and maybe dpkg-dev, lintian). dak
would parse the value of "Architectures" to check for the architectures listed
in "[i386 amd64 ppc]".

When the package is added to the Packages file, the field gets changed to
"Architecture: all". This would be the easiest way.



[1] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=436733
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2008/02/msg00045.html
[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2008/02/msg00355.html
Julian Andres Klode, Fellow of the Free Software Foundation Europe
                     Debian Maintainer | Developer | Ubuntu Member

try Debian: http://www.debian.org/ | my site: http://jak-linux.org/
        jabber: juliank@jabber.org | IRC: juliank (FreeNode, OFTC)
            languages:     German  | English

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