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Re: Depends/Recommends from libraries

On Wed, Mar 08, 2017 at 11:33:21PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Adam Borowski writes ("Depends/Recommends from libraries"):
> > I'd like to discuss (and then propose to -policy) the following rule:
> > 
> > # Libraries which don't provide a convenient means of conditionally loading
> > # at runtime (this includes most libraries for languages such as C), SHOULD
> > # NOT declare a "Depends:" or "Recommends:" relationship, directly or
> > # indirectly, on packages containing anything more than dormant files. 
> > # Those include, among others, daemons, executables in $PATH, etc.  Any such
> > # relationship should be instead declared by programs that use the library
> > # in question -- it is up to them to decide how important the relationship
> > # is.
> This seems like a non-brainer to me.  Can anyone come up with a reason
> why this would be wrong in general ?

I can even come up with two:

First, it sounds like a layering violation, forcing programs to know 
about implementation details several layers of dependencies away.

As an example, look at the "libdbus-1-3 -> dbus" Recommends.

When libdbus-1-3 itself is used by a library, I don't see any reasonable
way to push the implementation detail that dbus is used all the way up
to all applications.

Second, what should this achieve?

The mentioned usbmuxd is 0.1 MB.

libglib2.0-0 recommends libglib2.0-data.
The sole contents of libglib2.0-data are 9.5 MB translations.
This recommends would still be permitted, and by default these
translations should be installed.

In the common case disk space is plenty and not a problem.
Except for some cases of daemons, installing too much is
therefore usually not a problem.[1]

Recommends are basically dependencies you are allowed to break when
you know what you are doing, and that's the level of expertise someone 
is expected to have when optimizing disk space usage.

> Ian.


[1] "libfoo pulls in 100 MB of data" cases are rare


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       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
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