Proposal for apt install-recommends settings

vidd vidd at
Fri Oct 24 14:07:15 UTC 2008

As was done in Debian, Ubuntu has elected to modify the default handling 
of recommended packages.
In Hardy (8.04) apt-config dump shows the default setting
   APT::Install-Recommends "0";
This has the result of apt-get listing recommended items, but not 
installing these items by default.

In Intrepid (8.10), this behavior has changed. Now recommends are being 
treated as depends.
For the majority of users, this is tolerable.
However, for some users, particularly net-device users, low-spec 
servers, and minimalists, this is a heavy burden.

I have a proposal that would easily remove this burden for the user that 
wishes to not install recommends by default, and yet easily enable the 
install recommends for those that want it:

1.) Set up apt to not install recommends in the default configuration
2.) Create a package that writes the following:
         APT::Install-Recommends "1" ;
3.) Have that package save this as 
"/etc/apt/apt.conf.d/01[SomeFileName]"  (ie 

The benefits are:
   The user who does a cli-only install and builds the system up from 
there (server user, minimalist, etc) are not forced to install packages 
that are "works best with" (recommends) unless they choose to add them
   The Disto Packager, at their option, can simply add this package to 
the "won't work without" (depends) list of their respective -desktop 
   The "Tweeker" can easily locate and remove the package (and thus the 
from a desktop install, or locate and add the package (and thus the 
file) from a server or cli install

For those users, like myself, that would like to not have Recommends 
installed by default, simply create a file in /etc/apt/apt.cong.d with 
the following line:
      APT::Install-Recommends "0"
The file should be named in the following format
      [number from 00 to 99][text]
such as "01AptRecommendsNo"

Thank you

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