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

Adam Borowski <kilobyte@xxxxxxxxxx> writes:

> More seriously, though, let's go through the list of 94 unsatisfied ones
> on my desktop; the list below is transposed to collate recommendees.

And what happens here is, I think, typical: any one person often thinks
choices of recommends make no sense, but a broader perspective provides
quite a bit of justification.  A good example:

> dnsmasq-base: lxc
> * BAD: how often are you on a network without a DNS server?

Your question here indicates to me that you've missed the point of this
dependency entirely.  lxc uses the dnsmasq program (not service, hence
-base) for *DHCP* for containers on the container network.  If you do a
search for lxc dnsmasq, you'll see tons of justification for this
Recommends.  lxc is already pulling in tons of stuff; it would be dumb to
make it harder to use by omitting this small recommends of a few binaries.

> gsfonts: libmagickcore-6.q16-3 libwmf0.2-7
> * BAD: see ghostscript

Your concept of what file formats are obsolete is not even remotely
similar to mine.

> libgnomeui-0: xscreensaver
> * BAD: Gnome users won't run xscreensaver

What?  The hell they won't.

> libmail-sendmail-perl: po-debconf
> * BAD: why would po stuff want to send mail?

This is for podebconf-report-po.  I assume you've not packaged something
with translations?

> libpam-systemd: xfce4-power-manager xfce4-session
> * BAD: Depends:systemd, utterly pointless without it.

This is a whole other discussion, but we had *endless* discussions of
this, and there are very sound technical reasons for structuring the
dependency chain this way.

> libpurple-bin: libpurple0
> * BAD: a library has no reason to install programs

This, like all other lib*-bin packages in Debian, are external helper
utilities *run by the library* under specific situations, which are split
into a separate package to avoid SONAME issues.  This is an entirely
correct packaging strategy for optional library APIs (in this case, things
like opening remote URLs).

I'm going to stop here, since at this point I think this is just going to
turn into a thread educating you about Debian packaging conventions you've
apparently not encountered before, which is really not a good use of
everyone's time.

I am completely unconvinced that there is any real problem here.  There
are doubtless some bugs, most of them minor, in our separation between
Recommends and Suggests, and there's probably some opportunity to craft
better language to guide packagers to do the right thing, but mostly
there's an opportunity for people to file a few bugs after a *thoughtful*
analysis of package Recommends and why they might be there.  There
certainly doesn't seem to be a problem large enough to warrant TC

Russ Allbery (rra@xxxxxxxxxx)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>