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Re: Visualboy Advance question.

On Mon, 2004-06-21 at 19:55, Matthew Palmer wrote:

> To re-quote policy, "The Depends field should be used if
> the depended-on package is required for the depending package to provide a
> significant amount of functionality."  Usefulness is a function of
> functionality.  No functionality, no utility (usefulness).  For an emulator,
> no ROM, no functionality, no utility.  If there's no free ROM, then we go
> through the chain again, ending at "not in main".

That is nice sophistry, but I don't think it holds water. The order of
dependence that you're describing is quite backwards. It's unusual
(although not unheard-of) for a Debian package for an interpreter or
emulator to Depends on programs that run under than interpreter, rather
than the other way around.

I don't think that many of us would be pleased if the 'perl' package
Depends-depended on, say, 'prcs-utils' or 'mp32ogg'. 'perl' needs SOME
data -- even console-entered data -- to be useful, but it doesn't need
any PARTICULAR data to be useful. perl is still quite useful even if I
don't have mp32ogg installed.

Not only that, but we fully expect users to provide their OWN data for
that software -- whether free or not. An MP3 player doesn't depend on
the Free Software Song to operate. An image viewer doesn't depend the
Tux image. It's OK to use non-free data with a free program in main.
That's not a violation of our guidelines.

Yes, we all need to be needed, in a hippy-squishy way -- Debian packages
inclusive. (Have you hugged your packages today?) But saying that a
Debian package Depends on packages that Depends on it is taking a mushy
truism to an absurd technical conclusion.

In closing: I think it's a mistake to leave out Free Software just
because there's not Free Data for that software to work with.


Evan Prodromou <evan@debian.org>

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