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checking for Build-Depends during build?

Hi all,

I'm taking on the packaging of a library that has a build-time dependency on
the dev package from another library.  Do any of the dpkg-dev or debhelper
tools check for this line in the control file?  I've poked around a bit in
the source code, but haven't found what I'm looking for; even though the
line is there in the control file, the first thing to complain about its
absence is ./configure when it errors out.  Is there something I can put in
debian/rules that will catch this earlier in the build process, or is the
line currently only useful to the autobuilders?

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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