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Re: Packages: required vs recommended vs suggested

Marc Wilson wrote:
> Neal Lippman wrote:
> > I did in install last pm of a package which "recommends" other packages,
> > which it turned out I needed in order to make things work.
> Then perhaps they're actually dependencies?  Did you file a bug?

For discussion purposes what package are you talking about?

In particular sometimes things seem like a dependency but in reality
it is not.  Take xplanet for one example.  It recommends
xplanet-images and is not really useful without _something_ else.  But
it can and frequently is used with other images.  It does not really
need xplanet-images and therefore should not depend upon it thereby
forcing users to install something they don't need.  Which is why it
only recommends it.

As another example look at grub and you can see that grub suggests
grub-doc.  This is a different case and also makes sense.  You don't
need the documentation package to use grub so there should be no
requirement.  But there is a connection between those two packages and
so one suggests the other.

> > However, apt-get install <package> did not automagically install the
> > recommended packages (it did get required dependencies) and I spent quite
> > a while before I figured that out.
> Yes, as documented, apt-get doesn't care about Recommends or Suggests.
> IMHO, a tool that didn't give you the option of whether to install them,
> but automatically went and did it, kind of makes moot the idea of a package
> being anything other than a dep.


> > How do you cause apt-get to at least ask you about installing
> > recommended, or suggested, package dependencies?
> You don't.

With apt-get you need to also know how to look at packages with
apt-cache.  See the Recommends line in the below output?

  apt-cache show xplanet

> Personally, I have no problem with dselect, but most other people will
> probably point you to aptitude.

Personally I have no trouble with apt-get and apt-cache.  :-) I like
aptitude better than dselect.  Although others like dselect better.
And the obligatory mention of synaptic for those that like a graphical


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