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Re: Too many Recommends (in particular on mail-transport-agent)

On Wed, May 31, 2017 at 11:31:43AM +0100, Simon McVittie wrote:
> On Wed, 31 May 2017 at 11:32:29 +1200, Ben Caradoc-Davies wrote:
> > Trust is not transitive. Perhaps Recommends should not be either?
> Recommends are for the relationship "wanting foo but not bar is unusual".
> If A Recommends B and B Recommends C, and if we assume for example
> that "unusual" means 10% of users of A do not need B and 10% of users
> of B do not need C, then installing Recommends means somewhere
> between 0% and 20% of users of A get C unnecessarily. (The real figure
> depends on whether not wanting B and not wanting C are positively or
> negatively correlated, or independent.)

That's true.

I'd say the biggest problem is maintainers having an emotional attachment to
their packages and thus overestimating their importance.

A random example (not meant to single out its maintainer):
libuuid1 (transitively essential) Recommends: uuid-runtime.
The latter is, as far as I understand, needed only if you generate a massive
number of uuids per seconds.  Packages that actually need so (like ceph)
actually Depend: uuid-runtime already.  The rest -- those which need a
single uuid per mkfs or so, are perfectly fine without that daemon.

Thus, axing this dependency or degrading it to Suggests would be probably a
good idea.  And there's hundreds if not thousands of Recommends of this kind
that need to be looked at -- this example is just more prominent as it
affects every Debian system.

(I'm not filing bugs yet as it's better to have a consensus first before

Don't be racist.  White, amber or black, all beers should be judged based
solely on their merits.  Heck, even if occasionally a cider applies for a
beer's job, why not?
On the other hand, corpo lager is not a race.