Task metapackages

Martin Pitt martin.pitt at canonical.com
Fri Oct 1 04:20:33 CDT 2004


On 2004-09-30 21:42 -0700, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> So I put together a little metapackage generator for ubuntu-base and
> ubuntu-desktop, which works off of the Packages files, and it seems to
> produce reasonable output.  I received a couple of new DesktopSeed additions
> that I didn't realize I was missing.
> I got to wondering, though, whether this is the right implementation.
> Currently it depends on everything in Desktop.  So, if the user decides to
> remove anything in Desktop, it gets removed, and they go into "manual mode".

My philosophy is that we should not force the people to wear all the
same type of trousers. I don't like to have packages installed that I
never use, just because the distributor wants to force it; it's a
waste of space and bandwith (if you need to download them).

So what should be the purpose of such a desktop metapackage? As I
understood it, it shall make it easy to setup a standard Warty
installation on an e. g. woody system. But this is equally easy with
installing the desktop task with aptitude. To make this even more
transparent, I see two options:

- Provide an ubuntu-desktop package which only depends on aptitude and
  installs the task in its postinst script. Then the user is still
  free to remove packages afterwards. However, IMHO this does not
  really make much more sense.

- Provide an upgrade-to-warty script which installs the task and can
  do other necessary things like asking for local users and put them
  into some groups (plugdev etc.). This is my favourite solution.

> I'm debating whether or not it should depend only on seeded packages,
> allowing the user to swap dependencies if they prefer (e.g., libesd-alsa0
> for libesd0).  This would also help the package to stay around during
> partial upgrades.

The metapackage could also have the alternative dependencies. OTOH
depending only on seeded packages does not help much either since you
still cannot remove transitive dependencies without removing the
desktop metapackage, too.

> On one hand, I like having it depend on the complete, official desktop set,
> because it ensures a certain level of consistency (Provides being the
> primary exception).  On the other hand, it means that it'll be uninstalled
> more often, and so less useful.

I still don't see why such a metapackage is useful at all (apart from
upgrading, which I discussed above). What else do you have in mind?



Martin Pitt                       http://www.piware.de
Ubuntu Developer            http://www.ubuntulinux.org
Debian GNU/Linux Developer       http://www.debian.org
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